10 Jul How a drug raid brought federal charges against an Elmira, NY couple
Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and up to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Wochit, Elissa Robinson/Wochit
A traffic stop in March landed an Elmira woman in jail on after heroin, meth and other drugs were found in her vehicle.
One month later, in April, fentanyl and and cocaine were among other drugs seized from an Elmira man’s car
Police kept investigating after both arrests, and on July 1, a SWAT team raided the Grand Central Avenue apartment where both suspects — Shawn Blaney, 35, and Debbie Rummings, 38 — reside. Two firearms were found in the living room next to safe containing fentanyl, according to court documents.
Now, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged Blaney and Rummings with felony counts of possession with intent to distribute 40 or more grams of fentanyl, along with unlawfully possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.
Blaney and Rummings appeared July 1 in Rochester’s federal courthouse and are awaiting detention hearings, scheduled for Thursday.
DIG DEEPER: Read the court documents below this article
What happened in the police raid
The 6 a.m. raid was carried out by the Endicott Police Department’s SWAT officers. Rummings was taken into custody inside the apartment when the search warrant was carried out, but officers stopped Blaney in a car on Woodlawn Avenue.
Investigators said they found the following evidence:
- 100 grams of heroin/fentanyl.
- Electronic scales, dilutant.
- An unloaded AR-15 style rifle, 30-round magazine and partially loaded magazine with 10 rounds.
- Two shotguns.
A shotgun and the AR-15 style rifle were found next to the living room safe where the fentanyl was kept, court documents said.
A drug-motivated robbery claim
Blaney told police after the raid that he had been securing about eight ounces of methamphetamine from a source every couple weeks for about a year.
This continued until April 2019, he said, when he’d been arrested along with other accused meth traffickers in the Elmira area. That meth source began to minimize his distribution efforts “over fear of law enforcement activity,” according to Blaney’s statement to police.
Blaney also told police he kept the rifle to protect his drug trafficking profits, then claimed three men had “run into the house” to burglarize their home the night before the July 1 SWAT raid.
During questioning, Rummings told police one of the alleged burglars, each of whom she described as black males, pulled a handgun on her.
With a gun behind her head, she told police, she heard one suspect say they were “here for the white dude and his (expletive).”
The suspects didn’t see the safe because it was concealed behind a mattress, Rummings told police.
Meth arrests are now more common than heroin arrests. Users risk infections, tooth decay, overdose and death.
Ashley Biviano, pressconnects.com
What police found after traffic stops
Rummings had previously been arrested March 13, when a New York State trooper spotted a 2003 Pontiac Vibe with an expired inspection driving on Interstate 86 in Horseheads. She was the passenger.
Court records said Rummings and the driver gave conflicting answers when the trooper asked about where they’d been driving from. Rummings also had a “nervous demeanor and had rapid, slurred speech,” court records said.
“I want your captain out here,” an agitated Rummings told the trooper, when asked if anything illegal was in the car. “I want you to call him right now and have him out here.”
Rummings’ right hand went down the inside of the front of her pants and the trooper suspected she was trying hide something. That’s when she told the trooper, “You have no right to detain me, I’m leaving!”
She got back in the car, then turned to the back seat and began pushing buttons on a digital safe.
Rummings said the safe was her boyfriend’s, and told the trooper, “I’m making it so you can’t open this! You need a warrant to look in this!”
Later, at the state police barracks in Horseheads, a trooper performed a search on Rummings. Troopers believed she’d been hiding illegal items on her person.
Court documents said she was found with 87.3 grams of fentanyl and 9.2 grams of meth.
Rummings was arrested on drug charges, jailed, then later released from custody to await further court action.
On April 16, Blaney was arrested in a traffic stop on Davis Street in the area of West Fifth Street in Elmira.
Police officers who searched the car said they found methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine, fentanyl and oxycodone pills hidden within it.
Charges were filed against Blaney in that case as well.
Read the federal charges here:
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