Penn Yan Police: Homeless man had 75 bags of synthetic marijuana

John Christensen
James E. Sandford III

Penn Yan Police report they arrested a homeless man March 24 for numerous crimes — including having 75 bags of synthetic marijuana — after he was stopped in the parking lot of Byrne Dairy in the Yates County village.

Police said they stopped James E. Sandford III, 27, of no fixed address, because they knew Sandford had had his license suspended.

While taking Sandford into custody, police said they found a bag of synthetic marijuana in Sandford’s pants pocket along with a large roll of cash. Further check of the vehicle revealed six more bags of synthetic marijuana, according to police, who impounded the vehicle and conducted an inventory search.

In all, officers said they discovered 75 bags of synthetic marijuana, eight strips of Suboxone, a micro -ziplock baggie containing brown powder, unauthorized credit cards, coins, fireworks, jewelry, and electronics, as well as $2,316 in cash.

Police seized all of the items and are continuing to investigate. Officers believe that the jewelry, electronics, and other items found in the car may be stolen. While in custody at the police department, Sandford allegedly was belligerent and threatened an officer.

Sandford is charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree harassment, and unlawful possession of fireworks. He was arraigned in Penn Yan Village Court, and sent to Yates County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail or $20,000 bond.

After being arraigned, Sandford allegedly continued to be aggressive towards officers and refused commands. He is facing further charges of obstructing governmental administration.

Penn Yan Police said they will be turning the synthetic marijuana over to the Drug Enforcement Administration for possible federal prosecution.

The synthetic marijuana has an estimated street value of about $2,000.