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Another conflict prompts second adjournment in Ogdensburg crack cocaine case

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OGDENSBURG - Another defense attorney’s potential conflict of interest led to another adjournment Wednesday in the case of four felony drug possession suspects in Ogdensburg.

During a preliminary hearing in city court, an attorney for one of the suspects cited a conflict of interest and recused herself from the case.

St. Lawrence County Assistant Conflict Public Defender Heather A. Dona represented Charles J.H. “Whiz” Caviness, 24, of Buffalo. She declined to explain for the record why she excused herself.

The hearing, which was first adjourned on Tuesday, will resume today at noon before Judge William R. Small.

Mr. Caviness and three other Buffalo residents, Eldridge “L” Gossom, 25, Andre L. “Dre” Wilson, 40, and Tige K. “Jeeb” Smith Jr., 24, are each charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. They were arrested Dec. 6 at 325 Belmont Courts, alleged by city police to be part of a crack cocaine distribution ring in the Ogdensburg area.

Another attorney conflict and subsequent adjournment could jeopardize whether the charges stand against the four. Under the law, there is a 144-hour-long window, counted in business days, from the time a person is arraigned until a preliminary hearing must be held, unless the accused waives his right to such a hearing. The four were arraigned Friday, which means the hearing must take place by Monday afternoon for the charges to stand.

If the charges are dropped, the case could still be presented to a county grand jury in hopes of again charging them.

On Tuesday, St. Lawrence County Assistant Public Defender Steven G. Ballan and Ogdensburg attorney Gary R. Alford consecutively excused themselves from representing Mr. Gossom because of conflicts of interest.

They were replaced by attorney Effie G. Kyriakopoulos.

The other defense attorneys are Greg Storie for Mr. Wilson, Mary E. Rain for Mr. Smith.

Miss Dona was replaced by attorney Gary W. Miles.

According to police, officers found in the Belmont Courts apartment 111 mini-baggies of crack cocaine and seven mini-baggies of powdered cocaine with a cumulative weight of 28.7 grams and an estimated total street value of $5,900.

All four defendants remain in St. Lawrence County jail, Canton, on $10,000 cash or $20,000 bail bond each for Mr. Caviness, Mr. Wilson, and Mr. Smith, and $20,000 cash or $40,000 bond for Mr. Gossom.

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