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UPDATE: Geneva pair arrested on felony charges as investigation into overdoses moves forward

Pair of arrests made as investigation into overdoses continues

– Staff Report

In an update on Wednesday Chief Michael Passalacqua provided an update from the Geneva Police Department on the active investigation into a rash of overdoses that happened on Sunday.

All were reported during the early-morning hours in Geneva and Canandaigua. They involved a combination of city residents and Hobart and William Smith students.

Passalacqua says that two people have been arrested on felony charges.

Hector R. Rondon, 55, of Geneva was taken into custody on Tuesday and charged with one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance, a Class B felony.

On Wednesday, Pedro Morales, 35, of Geneva was arrested on the same charge.

Passalacqua says both arrests are connected to the overdoses this past weekend. The two were processed at the Ontario County Jail.

“The investigation remains very active and ongoing and has not concluded with these arrests,” Passalacqua said. “The Geneva Police Department will continue to
investigate this and will ensure that anyone else involved with these reported overdoses will also be held accountable for their involvement.”

The Geneva Police Department Drug Enforcement Unit was assisted in this investigation by the Canandaigua Police Department, Ontario County Sheriff’s Office, Seneca County Sheriff’s Office and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.

Officials: Seven Lives Saved Over Weekend In Geneva, Canandaigua

By Gabriel Pietrorazio

Within a span of four-hours, seven lives were saved between the cities of Geneva and Canandaigua from opioid overdoses early Sunday morning.

Law enforcement officials convene in Geneva as they give the public an update after more than a half-dozen overdoses this past weekend. 

During a joint press conference held at the Geneva Housing Authority earlier this morning, Geneva Chief of Police Michael Passalacqua, Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson, Canandaigua Chief of Police Stephen Hedworth as well as Geneva Police Department Lieutenants Matthew Valenti and Jeff Potter publicly addressed the sporadic series of overdose calls that lingered throughout the early hours of Sunday.

From 1:35 a.m. until 3:46 a.m., the Geneva Police Department received five overdose calls, all of whom were male and ranging in ages from 19- to 44-years-old.

Three of the five separate cases in Geneva were identified as male Hobart College students and those overdoses happened on-campus while the other two incidents were non-college residents; but all five overdoses were all related to the consumption of powder cocaine.

The Geneva Police Department responded to all five calls and the majority of overdoses necessitated three doses of NARCAN for each patient.

While the toxicology reports remain unconfirmed, Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson highly suspects that the cocaine substances were laced with fentanyl.

Chief Passalacqua accredits the rapid responses from on-call officers and first responders, which led to not a single fatality.

As for Canandaigua, Chief Hedworth explained that their city’s two non-fatal overdoses were a result from a mixture of multiple drugs and not solely cocaine.

Chief Hedworth sees the increased dispensing of NARCAN as an alarming sign for both communities, and the rest of Ontario County.

Sheriff Henderson noted that while seven separate but active and ongoing investigations are transpiring, the situation is being jointly reviewed.

At this time, no criminal charges have been filed by the departments.


WATCH: Police hold press conference in Geneva after rash of overdoses

– Staff Report, 10 a.m.

Officials gathered in Geneva to share more information with the public regarding a rash of overdoses connected to a batch of cocaine laced with fentanyl.

Leadership from the Geneva Police Department, Canandaigua Police Department, and Ontario County Sheriff’s Office met in Geneva to address questions, concerns, and share updates on the ongoing investigation.

FingerLakes1.com will have a full-report from the press conference later today. Download the FingerLakes1.com App to receive notifications, and breaking news on your tablet or smartphone.

Watch below:


Community Looking For Answers After Rash Of Overdoses in Ontario County

By Josh Durso

Authorities in Ontario County are investigating a rash of opioid overdoses, which were all reported within hours of each other in Geneva and Canandaigua.

A message to students, faculty and staff at Hobart and William Smith Colleges revealed that three of the overdoses reported in Geneva were students.

Fortunately, none of the overdoses were fatal in either community.

Geneva Police Chief Michael Passalacqua says he’s asking for the community to come together as his department works with other law enforcement agencies around Ontario County to investigate the origin and source of the drugs.

“I want to take this time to thank the members of the Geneva Police Department, the Geneva Fire Department and EMS personnel who responded and assisted at these scenes overnight,” Passalacqua said in a statement to the press. “There is little time to act when dealing with an opioid overdose and because of the training and the effective quick actions of all involved overnight, I can report that none of the five overdoses were fatal.”

Meanwhile, Canandaigua Police Chief Stephen Hedworth said that there were two non-fatal overdoses in the city of Canandaigua last night, too.

Passalacqua says investigators are working with overdose victims to gain further information. “The opioid crisis that we are in effects the entire community. If you or anyone you know is in need of help dealing with an opioid addiction, please reach out for help as there are several agencies within our community that can assist,” he added.

Officials with HWS echoed those concerns outlined by police.

“The Colleges have been notified by the Geneva Police Department and EMTs that they have identified a dangerous form of cocaine that may be laced with fentanyl in Geneva,” the message read. “Fentanyl is an extremely strong synthetic opioid that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is 50-100 times stronger than morphine.”

The CDC says that illicitly manufactured fentanyl ‘significantly increases the risk of death’. Oftentimes, those using the drug are unaware of the addition of fentanyl.

“Overnight, three students were hospitalized with what is believed to be the result of this extremely dangerous drug combination. The Geneva Police Department believes that these incidents are related to other similar ones in the city,” HWS said in the message.

Authorities will hold a press conference Monday at 11 a.m. at the Geneva Housing Authority on Lewis Street in Geneva to discuss the overdoses.

Anyone with information regarding these incidents can contact Det. Steven Vine at (315) 828-6784 or email smv@geneva.ny.us.


The full-message to students below:

“The Colleges have been notified by the Geneva Police Department and EMTs that they have identified a dangerous form of cocaine that may be laced with fentanyl in Geneva. Fentanyl is an extremely strong synthetic opioid that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is 50-100 times stronger than morphine. While cocaine can cause death on its own, the CDC says that illicitly manufactured fentanyl “significantly increases the risk of death.” Often, those using the drug are unaware of the addition of fentanyl.

Overnight, three students were hospitalized with what is believed to be the result of this extremely dangerous drug combination. The Geneva Police Department believes that these incidents are related to other similar ones in the city.

If you or someone else appears to be intoxicated, unconscious and in need of help, call Campus Safety immediately at 315-781-3333.

As a reminder, the Colleges have a Medical Amnesty Policy. In situations where students call for help for themselves, or a student (or group of students) seeks assistance for another student, the students involved will not be subject to the Colleges’ disciplinary actions for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies based on ingestion occurring at or near the time of the incident.

The safety and well-being of our community is of the utmost importance. Do not hesitate to call Campus Safety should you need assistance.

Sincerely,

Cathy

Catherine Williams
Vice President for Marketing and Communications


This story will be updated as more information becomes available.


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