Two men charged with dealing meth in Penn Yan

John Christensen
The Chronicle Express
Yates County Courthouse

PENN YAN – Two men have been arraigned in Yates County for allegedly dealing methamphetamine.

Robert J. Grimaldi, 44, of Penn Yan, was arrested June 25 by Penn Yan Police assisting the Yates County Sheriff’s Office. While approaching the vehicle, police observed there was a child under 4-years-old lying on the floor of his vehicle and not properly restrained by a car seat. A license check showed Grimaldi’s was suspended. Police then discovered a large quantity of suspected methamphetamine on his person and other drug paraphernalia inside the vehicle. Grimaldi was placed under arrest for two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, 3rd degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, 2nd degree criminal contempt, 7th degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, drivers view obstructed, improper restraint of a passenger under age 4, and 3rd degree aggravated unlicensed operation. He was also charged by the Yates County Sheriff’s Office with 1st degree Criminal Contempt, 2nd degree Harassment, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child in the Town of Starkey.

Grimaldi was arrested again June 28 by Penn Yan Police following a 6-month-long investigation into methamphetamine sales in the area.  He is alleged to have sold large quantities of methamphetamine to an agent of the PYPD, and was charged on a Yates County Superior Court warrant with two counts of 2nd degree Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance  (class A2 felony), one count of 3rd degree Criminal Sale of a controlled substance, and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He was arraigned on the same day and released on his own recognizance as the charges do not qualify for bail under the bail reform act; but according to police, he remains remanded to the Yates County Jail without bail for charges steaming from prior arrest last Friday night. 

Grimaldi’s co-defendant, Allen R. Petersen, 40, of Geneva, was also arrested following the same meth sales investigation. He was indicted by a Yates County grand jury for 2nd degree Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance (class A2 felony) and 5th degree Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance (class D felony). Petersen was arrested in the City of Geneva June 28 by Penn Yan Police assisted by units from the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office and Geneva Police Department. He was arraigned in Yates County Criminal Court June 29 before Judge Jason L. Cook, and was released in accordance with NYS Bail Reform.  

The Penn Yan Police were assisted in their months-long investigation by members of the Yates County Sheriff’s Office, Ontario County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Unit, and the Geneva Police Department.

In other cases:

Kenneth Lafler, 52, pled guilty to one count of 1st degree Attempted Criminal Sex Act, with a sentence promise of no less than 4 years in prison followed by 15 years parole and no more than 5 years in prison plus 10 years parole, with orders of protection and sex offender registration. Prosecutors said the crimes took place in Penn Yan in 2013, and that Lafler’s two victims were under age 11 at the time. Lafler also pled guilty to three counts of failure to register as a sex offender with sentence promises of 1 1/3 – 4 years on each, with to run concurrently. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 14.

Ryan Thomas, 23, was sentenced on one count of 3rd degree Attempted Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance. He was arrested Jan. 22 by Penn Yan Police with heroin. Thomas will serve 4 years followed by 3 years parole, running concurrently with a sentence of 2-4 years on one count of 3rd degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon and a sentence of 1 1/3 – 4 years for violation of probation.