The drugs and money stolen from the Port Chester police evidence room this summer were allegedly confiscated during a drug bust in March, The Westmore News reports, citing only anonymous sources.
Port Chester Police Lt. James Ladeairous said he could not comment on whether or not the evidence taken was that confiscated after the March arrest of suspected drug dealer Dominic Patafio, as Westmore claims.
“It is out of my hands,” Ladeairous said of commenting on the police investigation into the missing evidence.
Patafio was arrested on March 22 after police allegedly found more than 16 ounces of marijuana, several bags of cocaine, oxycodone and hydrocodone pills in his home, Ladeairous said. The investigation was done in conjunction with the Westchester County Police Narcotics Unit and the drugs were found after police obtained a search warrant for 9 Sycamore Lane, Patafio’s home.
Patafio faces the following charges:
- Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the second degree, a Class D Felony
- Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the first degree, a Class A-1 felony
- Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 3rd Degree, a Class B felony
Patafio was due in Port Chester Village Court yesterday, Sept. 16, but the court granted him an adjournment until Oct. 24 at his lawyer’s request, Ladeairous said.
Port Chester Board of Trustee Member Sam Terenzi told Westmore that the evidence was possibly stolen to weaken the Westchester County District Attorney’s case against Patafio.
Westmore also reports that at least three police department members, Ladeairous, Det. Lt. Royal Monroe and Chief Joseph Krzeminski, have the keys to the evidence room.
Westmore quotes Terenzi:
"They're either very, very smart or very, very stupid. Either somebody is hiding something or they're incompetent. Either way it's not good," Terenzi said. "Somebody knew the door was open, knew something was in there that was going to compromise the case. Who did it, I don't know. Who's responsible, I don't know."
The Port Chester Board of Trustees adjourned for an executive session at the start of last night’s meeting to “consult with legal counsel regarding police department matters."
Neither Mayor Neil Pagano nor board members commented on any
updates regarding the investigation during the public meeting. But the board also passed a resolution
that “clarifies” the board’s 1990 resolution and intent to place the Village
Manager day-to-day operational authority over the police chief.
The Village attorney said that the clarification of the manager’s authority to supervise and hold accountable the police chief is “very important given recent events.”
During the Sept. 3 meeting Pagano emphasized that the board takes the investigation seriously and not to mistake silence for apathy. He said he would not comment further on the investigation until there were developments that could be reported.
Read Westmore’s full article by Claire Racine and Jananne Abel here.