One arrested in break-in indicted on drug charges

PHOTOGRAPHER:
Johnson

JOHNSTOWN — One of three men stabbed after allegedly breaking into a Gloversville residence a week ago was indicted this week by a Fulton County grand jury on four counts alleging cocaine sales and possession.

Rodney H. Johnson Jr., 17, of 27 Maple St., Gloversville, was the subject of a sealed indictment opened Tuesday before Fulton County Court Judge Louise K. Sira.

Johnson was charged with two felony counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Two counts stem from from an incident at 2:51 p.m. March 15 in which Johnson “knowingly and unlawfully” sold cocaine for $80 to a confidential informant and possessed the drug at that time, the indictment says. Two other counts in the indictment allege Johnson sold $70 worth of cocaine to a confidential informant and possessed the drug the next day — at 1:17 p.m. March 16.

Johnson was arraigned Tuesday before Sira and was sent to the Fulton County Jail without bail, pending further court action.

According to a news release issued Wednesday by the office of county District Attorney Chad Brown, the indictment against Johnson stems from an investigation by the Gloversville Police Department into “unlawful sales” of cocaine by the defendant.

Attorney Gerard Heckler was assigned to represent Johnson.

Johnson and two other co-defendants — Justin Neu, 24, of 72 Homestead Drive, Gloversville, and Vincent Vautrin, 17, of 44 N. Center St., Fonda —were also arrested Tuesday on burglary charges by Gloversville police. All three were charged with first-degree burglary, armed with a dangerous instrument following an incident in which they were stabbed after breaking into a Bloomingdale Avenue residence on May 12.

Brown said Wednesday that the drug charges Johnson faces are unrelated to the more-recent home invasion/stabbing incident. He said Gloversville police have “separate investigations” ongoing with both.

“The only connection is the name of the person is the same,” the district attorney said.

Gloversville police Capt. Michael Scott, the department’s public information officer, couldn’t be reached Wednesday to comment on Johnson’s indictment.­

With the May 12 incident involving Johnson, Neu and Vautrin, Gloversville police have said officers were called at 2:10 a.m. to simultaneous reports of a fight in progress at 16 Bloomingdale Ave., and a report that two individuals had arrived at the Nathan Littauer Hospital emergency room suffering from stab wounds.

Scott previously said Johnson, Neu and Vautrin “had a beef” with the occupant of 16 Bloomingdale Ave. when they broke into the home. He said the resident fought back against the three, resulting in all three receiving lacerations. The three fled the area before police arrived. As to how the three, armed with knives, ended up being stabbed themselves, Scott said the occupant of the residence “more than likely was defending himself.”

One of the men went to 27 Maple St., Johnson’s address, following the altercation.

During the course of the police investigation, it was determined two individuals who arrived at Nathan Littauer Hospital had been stabbed during the fight at 16 Bloomingdale Ave. They were transferred to Albany Medical Center.

The third man in the group was later found at Albany Medical Center, Scott said.

Scott has said all three of the men charged are known to police, but won’t say if drugs were involved.

Johnson, along with three other teens, was charged with third-degree criminal trespass by city police in October 2015. Police said Johnson was one of several juveniles who trespassed at Kingsboro Towers, 2 Frontage Road.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Chad Fleck

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