Student arrested for cocaine on campus

Joseph Simoneau  was arrested in Oneida Hall. ( Provided by Oswego County Drug Task Force)
Joseph Simoneau was arrested in Oneida Hall. ( Provided by Oswego County Drug Task Force)

An Oswego State student was arrested on April 10 for possession of cocaine with intent to sell.

According to University Police Chief John Rossi, the arrest was initiated by an investigation started in the fall semester by the Oswego County Drug Task Force, the Oswego City Police Department and UP.

This investigation resulted in the arrest  of Oswego City resident Andrell D. Tolentino, 24, and Oneida Hall resident Joseph P. Simoneau, 20, for the possession of cocaine with the intent to sell.

“We had gotten information last fall about a significant amount of drugs that were in Oswego and we worked with the Oswego City Police and later the Drug Task Force in identifying people who were selling the drugs,” Rossi said.

At approximately 3 p.m., Tolentino was located in the area of West Cayuga Street and John Street in the city of Oswego. Investigators found Tolentino in possession of 102 grams of cocaine, with a street value of $8,000, according to the Oswego County Drug Task Force.

Tolentino, of 2 Ellwood St., Apartment 4E, in New York City, was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree, intent to sell, a Class B felony as well as criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree, also a Class B felony.

At approximately 6:15 p.m. a search warrant was used at Simoneau’s residence of 201 Oneida Hall. Investigators located and seized seven grams of cocaine, having a street value of $560, according to the Drug Task Force.

Simoneau was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third-degree, intent to sell, a Class B felony and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth-degree, a Class C felony.

According to Capt. Charles Tonkin, coordinator of the Oswego County Drug Task Force, there is no connection between these two cases, although they were both the result of their investigation.

“The Drug Task Force conducted both investigations from beginning to conclusion with assistance and further resources from the Oswego City Police Department and University Police at Oswego,” Tonkin said.

Tolentino had no connection to Oswego State other than allegedly supplying student from the college with cocaine, Rossi said.

“We also started receiving information from the community, which allowed us to connected names with possible activity,” Rossi said. “Speaking with the Oswego City police chief and the district attorney, it was decided we needed to initiate a long term investigation, which resulted in these arrest.”

UP could not comment on the specifics of the investigation because it is still ongoing.

Tolentino was arraigned in Oswego City Court and remanded to the Oswego County Correctional Facility without bail, while Simoneau was arraigned in Oswego City Court and remanded to the Oswego County Correctional Facility in lieu of $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond. Additional arrests and charges are possible. They will be scheduled to go to a grand jury.

According to Rossi, students were upset that this was happening and UP wanted to make this clear that it took a significant amount of time to come to a conclusion and their concerns were not just filed away, they were acted upon.

During the investigation, yet unrelated to these arrests, Rossi commented on the existing circulation of other illegal drugs, such as hallucinogenic mushrooms and Molly, which is the lower generic form of ecstasy and DMA type drugs, which became concerning to UP.

“We hope that this is a wakeup call to everyone, the people who don’t know the risks of using illegal drugs and the people who are selling illegal drugs,” Rossi said. “If they are, they are going to have be looking over their shoulders to see if they are going to get a knock on their door sometimes soon.”