‘Unprecedented’ number of arrests over holidays

The combination of nice weather and countywide festivities this holiday weekend led to an environment rich in crime.

According to Captain Eric J. Balon of the New York State Police, an “incredible amount” of drug arrests occurred between July 3-6 by State Troopers across the county.

“We came across 1 pound of marijuana (during an arrest) … and had a total of 22 arrests for unlawful possession of marijuana,” Balon said.

Several others, according to Balon, were arrested on criminal possession of a controlled substance charges, including some in possession of mushrooms, LSD, ecstasy, methamphetamines and cocaine.

“This is completely unprecedented,” Balon said. “We’ve had high numbers of drugs during past (holiday weekends), but they don’t compare to this weekend.”

Balon further stated that eight drivers were charged for driving while intoxicated over the weekend, and approximately 400 traffic tickets were issued in the past week.

“We made every effort to put more (Troopers) on this weekend because we knew it was going to be busy,” Balon said.

Indeed, Joseph Gerace, Chautauqua County sheriff, echoed Balon regarding the weekend’s inclination toward crime.

“It was a very busy weekend with the good weather,” Gerace said. “We made a number of DWI arrests, fireworks arrests and had lots of calls for service.”

Gerace indicated that no fatalities were reported over the weekend.