OBSERVER Staff Report
A routine traffic stop and subsequent follow-up investigation led to charges against an Irving man and a Dunkirk man who were reportedly transporting a significant quantity of heroin into the city of Dunkirk along Route 5.
A Dunkirk police officer observed a vehicle entering the city of Dunkirk on Lake Shore Drive East at about 7:30 p.m. on Dec 22. Reportedly, the vehicle made an abrupt left turn onto Stegelske Avenue without signaling. It appeared to the officer that the vehicle operator was being evasive and trying to avoid driving past the patrol car. The patrol officer caught up to the vehicle and made a traffic stop on Middle Road near the city line as the vehicle was about to head back outside the city limits.
Michael A. Orazio
The driver of the vehicle was identified as Michael A. Orazio, 42, of Irving. A check of New York State Department of Motor Vehicle Records indicated that Orazio's driver's license was suspended. He was placed under arrest.
The passenger, identified as Raymond Rodriguez-Santiago, 39, of 123 W. Second St. in Dunkirk, who was not under arrest at the time, left the area.
As officers continued to investigate Orazio and inventory his vehicle, they located and seized several thousand dollars worth of heroin and a small amount of marijuana, reportedly packaged for distribution. The location of the heroin hidden inside the vehicle was the basis for police to believe Rodriguez-Santiago was also involved.
Michael Orazio was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony. He was also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, failure to signal and third-degree ggravated unlicensed Operation of a Motor Vehicle.
Officers later obtained an arrest warrant for Raymond Rodriguez-Santiago from Dunkirk City Court. He was located and apprehended by Dunkirk police in the early morning hours of Monday, Dec. 31 without incident. He was taken to the Dunkirk city lockup pending arraignment in Dunkirk City Court. The investigation is continuing and additional charges and arrests are likely.
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