EL police say suspects hid drugs in common items

East Lyme — Town police received a tip Monday night that the targets of an ongoing prescription drug trafficking investigation were making a run to New York City to pick up drugs.

Police had been conducting surveillance on the suspects for three months and collecting information from various sources.

“We had tied them into traveling to the Brooklyn, N.Y., area and coming back to Connecticut with large quantities of OxyContin,” Sgt. Terry Saffioti said during a phone interview Friday.

In the early morning hours Tuesday, police officers positioned their cruisers at each of the town’s exits from Interstate 95. At 3 a.m., Saffioti spotted suspect James R. Douglas’ Subaru coming off the northbound ramp of Exit 74, according to a police report of the incident.

Saffioti pulled the car over as it turned into Flanders Plaza on Chesterfield Road. He and Officer Lindsay Cutillo conducted a search and found 713 oxycodone 30 mg pills, hidden in fake lint rollers and a Clorox bottle with a false bottom, according to the police report. They found more than $2,000 in cash and a black UZI handheld stun gun that they said Douglas took with him on drug runs for protection.

Douglas, 20, of 22 Crossley Court, Niantic; Tyler Glendenning, 20, of 282 Chesterfield Road, East Lyme; and Sean Connolly 20, of 301 Buddington Road, Groton, were arrested on site.

All three were charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, possession of narcotics and illegal storage of narcotics. Douglas was also charged with possession of a weapon in a motor vehicle and carrying a dangerous weapon.

The street value of the drugs was estimated at $21,300, according to the police.

Saffioti said the investigation is continuing and additional charges could follow. He said the police want to send a message that illegal trafficking of prescription pills, which are highly addictive, will not be tolerated in town.

The three men were arraigned this week in New London Superior Court. Douglas was released on a written promise to appear in court on Wednesday. He has no prior convictions in Connecticut, according to court records.

Glendenning posted a $10,000 bond and is due back in court on May 6. He has two other felony cases pending, according to court records. Waterford police charged him in February with illegal possession of a weapon in a vehicle and possession of narcotics. In December 2012, East Lyme police charged him with second-degree assault after he and another man allegedly stole $5,000 from a Voluntown man who had come to town to buy a large quantity of marijuana, according to court documents.

Connolly posted a $20,000 bond and is due back in court on May 8. He has several drug-dealing charges pending in Groton Town. He has prior convictions for reckless driving and possession of narcotics with intent to sell and was on probation at the time of his arrest, according to court records.

k.florin@theday.com

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