MASSENA — A New Jersey man faces up to 40 years in federal prison after admitting Wednesday in federal court that he brought 104 grams of crack cocaine to Massena with the intent to distribute the drug in St. Lawrence County.
Thomas L. Critten, 30, Jersey City, N.J., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court, Albany, to possession with the intent to distribute 104 grams of crack cocaine.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mr. Critten admitted that on Dec. 20, 2018, he brought the drugs to Massena with the intent to distribute them to another individual. He admitted that he had hidden two bags containing crack cocaine in his underwear and that police discovered the drugs during a search during his arrest on an unrelated charge.
According to a criminal complaint filed with the court, a sheriff’s deputy has stopped a taxi in which Mr. Critten was a passenger for an unspecified traffic violation. The taxi driver told the deputy he was taking Mr. Critten from a bus station to an address in Massena that the deputy discovered did not exist.
Mr. Critten told the deputy he was going to visit his fiance, but that he did not know his fiance’s address. He was then asked to get out of the taxi and was questioned by a detective. According to the complaint, he told the detective he was supposed to take a bus from Elmira to Jersey City, but had gotten on the wrong bus. He said he was heading to a store to wait for his fiance to drive from Elmira to pick him up.
Deputies then asked the taxi driver if a K-9 unit could conduct a “sniff” of the vehicle, to which the driver consented. The dog alerted to the back seat area where Mr. Critten had been seated, according to the complaint. Deputies then conducted a “pat down” of Mr. Critten and located the drugs in his underwear.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 24. Prosecutors said Mr. Critten faces a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 40 years, as well as a minimum of four years’ post-release supervision and up to life supervision.