Sheriff: Police used militarized vehicle in Massena after getting info people in house may have been armed and dangerous
Friday, June 2, 2017 - 5:41 pm

Above is a screenshot from a video showing the militarized state police vehicle breaking down a door at 72 Maple St. in Massena.


CANTON -- A state police tactical team used a militarized vehicle to ram down a door while making arrests in Massena because police believed that people in the house may have been armed, according to St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells.

On Thursday morning, a militarized state police CERT team took an armored vehicle with a battering ram attached to break down the door at 72 Maple St., where Travis O’Neill resides. According to a chart shown at a Friday press conference, police allege O’Neill was a supplier of several other suspects charged in what authorities have dubbed “Operation Gravy Train.” It yielded more than 100 arrests in the North Country, elsewhere in New York and in New Jersey.

Wells said leading up to the raid, police had had “conversations and communication with individuals in that household” that lead them to believe there could have been danger to officers and the community.Above are drugs and guns confiscated as part of ‘Operation Gravy Train,’ which netted more than 100 arrests, including many in the North Country. North Country Now photo by Andy Gardner.

He described the military-style vehicle as “another police tool that is out there that provides for officer safety and allows us to be able to go in and extract the people and not only make ourselves safer, but also make them safer.”

No shots were fired during the arrests.

Wells said 10 suspects are still at large, and the investigation is not over.

“This investigation hasn’t stopped,” Wells said.

An official from Homeland Security Investigations said the case would spin into an international probe of drug cartels. See more about that here.