Niagara Gazette

October 12, 2012

Pair face drug charges

By Rick Pfeiffer
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — The complaints from neighbors, about a suspected drug house in the 300 block of 70th Street, had been flooding in to Falls Police narcotics investigators.

When Detectives Joe Palermo and Tom Rodriguez went to check the complaints out, it didn't take them long to find what they were looking for.

"We decided to set up some surveillance (on Thursday) and see what the complaints were about," Palermo said. "It took all of three minutes for a car to pull up (in front of the targeted house) and a male and female got out."

As the couple walked away from the car, the male half whipped out a marijuana cigarette and lit it up. Palermo and Rodriguez then pulled up to the couple.

"I was in the passenger seat," Palermo said, "and I rolled down my window. As I did, (the male suspect) exhaled his smoke right into our vehicle."

Palmero said he and Rodriguez both recognized the smell of pot.

The detectives said they got out of their car and patted down the joint puffing man and found three more grams of pot and an unlabeled prescription botte that contained 68 Clonazepam pills. 

The investigators arrested Joel Zsebehazy, 29, 2494 Grand Ave., and charged him with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, three counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana, unlawful possession of marijuana and a health law violation for having the prescription pills in an unlabeled bottle.

Zsebehazy's companion, Amber Hubbard, gave the detectives permission to search her car and Palmero and Rodriguez struck gold again. In Hubbard's purse they found "multiple unlabeled prescription bottles and a plethora of pills."

In the bottles, the detectives seized 40 Clonazepam pills, 14 Alprazolam pils and three and a half Hydrocodone pills.

Hubbard, 21, 2167 River Road, was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, three counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and health law violations for having the prescription pills in an unlabeled bottles.

"They said they had come to the house to visit relatives," Palermo said. "But no relatives came out of the home as they were being questioned by police for, oh, 20 minutes."

Hubbard's troubles continued after she was booked into the city jail. Rodriguez said a jailer, on a routine cell check, made a disturbing discovery.

"She found (Hubbard), sitting on the (cell) toilet, removing a bag of pills from her body," Rodriquez said. 

The jailer seized the pills, which included Oxycodone and Oxycontin tablets, 26 in all. 

Hubbard was then charged with two more counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, promoting prison contraband and tampering with physical evidence.