Enforcement efforts yield results for Palestine police

EAST PALESTINE – A local police effort over three days last week resulted in two arrests, three people taken into custody on outstanding warrants, and three others charged for drug-related offenses.

Police Chief Kevin Dickey said the department had additional officers on the streets beginning July 3 for the organized crime intervention.

The effort also resulted in 13 traffic citations, six of which were for seat belt violations. Two citations were issued each for speeding, equipment violations and no operator or suspended driver’s licenses. One person was cited for OVI, according to Dickey’s report.

Police also issued 31 traffic warnings over the three days.

Sgt. Don Johnson said K-9 Toney alerted police to two drug-related offenses on traffic stops in the Village Park and Bacon Avenue.

Johnson is Toney’s handler, and the female Belgian Malinois was utilized seven times over the three-day effort, Dickey said.

“It should be known that those who engage in illegal drug activity in East Palestine can expect a meeting with a special officer from the department. Her name is Toney. She especially enjoys meeting dope dealers, and she doesn’t take holidays off,” the chief said.

One of the drug-related offenses was uncovered by Toney at the park during the July 4 fireworks, he added.

The K-9 alerted officers to marijuana and drug paraphernalia inside a vehicle at the park that was being driven by David Mackall, 43, of New Waterford.

The occupant, Heather Sundo, 39, of Wampam, Pa., was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, both misdemeanors. Mackall was charged with driving under suspension.

On Bacon Avenue, Toney alerted police to synthetic marijuana, also known as K2 or spice, during a traffic stop, Johnson said. Alex Baker, 19, of East Palestine was charged with having possession of the drug.

Officers also found three people wanted on warrants and turned them over to the county sheriff’s office and Boardman police, Dickey said.

During traffic stops police took James Bollinger, 23, East Palestine into custody for a warrant through the county sheriff for driving under suspension and Sandra Berry, 44, East Palestine, for a warrant through Boardman police.

On Garfield Avenue, Marcus Hale, 33, East Palestine, was taken into custody for a county sheriff’s warrant.

Two unrelated incidents over the holiday landed two village residents in the county jail, according to Dickey’s report.

Matthew McBride, 31, was charged with assault, and Lisa Karnis, 48, was charged with disorderly conduct.

Police also took three juveniles into custody for curfew violations and charged another with possession of a tobacco product. Those who violated curfew were later released to their parents.

Dickey said the three-day effort is a continuation of the department’s ongoing commitment to the community “to reduce all criminal activity, especially the use, sales and distribution of illicit drugs.”

On Monday the department worked alongside the highway patrol conducting vehicle safety inspections in town.

Dickey said the inspection was the first the department conducted with the patrol and anticipates more will be held in the future.

Police and state troopers inspected 45 vehicles and issued two driving under suspension citations. Eight safety defects were found.

Dickey wished to thank the patrol and those who cooperated during the inspections.

He also wished to encourage people witnessing any crime or drug activity to call the police department at 330-426-4341.