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Ava man pleads guilty to possessing drugs at moe.down festival

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LOWVILLE — An Ava man was entered Friday into the Lewis County Drug Court program after admitting to having drugs at last fall’s moe.down music festival.

Benjamin R. Gallo, 37, pleaded guilty in Lewis County Court to fifth- and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, also satisfying a second count of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and additional charges of unlawful possession of marijuana, speeding and second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. He was then approved by Judge Daniel R. King to sign a Drug Court contract.

Mr. Gallo was accused of possessing ketamine, Ecstasy and hashish at a traffic stop Aug. 12 on Route 26 in the town of Turin during the festival at Snow Ridge Ski Resort.

Also in Lewis County Court on Friday:

Cameron Carter, 44, of 10241 Plank Road, Copenhagen, had his case of felony driving while intoxicated, first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, refusal to submit to a breath test, having no license plate and failing to keep right adjourned to June 7.

He was stopped Jan. 22 on River Road in the town of Pinckney.

Brian G. Aikens, 52, Plattsburgh, had his case of first-degree reckless endangerment and other charges adjourned to June 7.

The other charges are third-degree unlawfully fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle, reckless driving, failing to comply, improper passing, moving from a lane unsafely and two counts of speeding.

Mr. Aikens was accused of leading police on a high-speed chase Monday along Route 3 in the town of Diana — in the midst of a flight from Plattsburgh that eventually ended with his arrest at a bar in West Carthage — during which he drove 90 mph in 30- and 55-mph zones.

Nine people arrested as part of the recent “Operation Spring Sweep” for allegedly selling drugs in the village of Lowville over the past couple of years also had their cases adjourned to May 17 or June 7 to consider possible settlement offers.

Another person arrested in the sweep, Andrew Meda, 33, Lowville, had his case adjourned to July 17. His case is being handled by acting County Judge Donald E. Todd after Judge King recused himself.

In other conflict cases Friday handled by Judge Todd:

Carissa J. Blair, 31, of 7124 Loson Road, was arraigned on charges of driving while ability impaired by drugs and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and pleaded guilty to the charges. Sentencing was set for July 17. Ms. Blair was stopped Jan. 26 on Loson Road in the town of Watson.

Billie J. Wilmot, 35, of 9624 Main St., had his case of first-degree criminal sex act, two counts apiece of third-degree rape and first-degree sexual abuse, four counts of third-degree sexual abuse and five counts of third-degree criminal sex act set for a June 10 trial.

He was accused of having improper sexual relations with two girls younger than 17, one from September 2010 to December 2011 and the other from February to April.

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