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Bronx man waives prelim on drug charges, has bail reduced

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MASSENA - A 22-year-old Bronx man accused of having heroin and cocaine during a traffic stop Tuesday agreed to waive his preliminary hearing Wednesday morning after the court agreed to reduce his bail.

State police had charged Christopher A. Lopez with two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and consuming alcohol in a vehicle on a public highway at 1:50 a.m. Tuesday following a traffic stop on Bishop Avenue.

Troopers said Mr. Lopez, a passenger in the vehicle, was found to be in possession of approximately 20 grams of cocaine and 48 individual bundles of heroin with a weight of 16.3 grams.

He was arraigned early Tuesday morning by Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson and sent to St. Lawrence County jail, Canton, on $20,000 cash bail or $40,000 bond.

The driver of the vehicle, Brande L. Snyder, 36, of Massena, was ticketed for failure to signal a turn from Woodlawn Avenue onto Willow Street.

Attorney Steven G. Ballan of the St. Lawrence County Public Defender’s Office said Mr. Lopez was prepared to waive his right to the hearing after learning Mr. Gustafson had committed to reducing his bail to $15,000 cash or $30,000 bond if the preliminary hearing was waived. Mr. Ballan told the court that Mr. Lopez indicated he expected someone would be able to post that bail. He remained incarcerated Wednesday night.

St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Andrew T. Botts was unsuccessful in convincing the judge to attach a condition to Mr. Lopez’s release if he posted bail.

“This defendant hails from New York City and was up here with two fairly large quantities of narcotics. I would ask the court to admonish the defendant that if he was to flee the jurisdiction and not return for his scheduled court appearances he would bear the costs of any proceedings necessary to get him back here,” Mr. Botts said.

Mr. Gustafson reduced the bail to $15,000 cash and ordered the case sent to superior court for possible grand jury action.

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