Why would you traffic drugs next to a house with 25 security cameras? Cameras feeding a crime-themed blog with 100k+ views a year? Not just trafficking, but a major drug wholesaler publicly resupplying a local retail distribution point? At least that’s what it looks like to me. Maybe I’m wrong and those are just Appalachian Trail backpackers fresh down from the Adirondacks, meeting with friends?
8/30/19 Pleasant Ave – The Drugs Come In
This gathering took place on August 30th here in Herkimer, NY, in front of 328 Pleasant Avenue. The older man you see is 328’s caretaker, probably part of the Stanley Sykes Gang out of Utica and Herkimer. (Stanley says his gang’s a set of the Crips, but then Stanley says a lot.) Looks like the locals are being resupplied for retail distribution. Guessing it’s crack, hoping it’s not heroin or fentanyl. (Where would the opioid crisis be without Herkimer and the Sykes gang?)
328 Pleasant passed into the local gang’s grimy hands last year after it was sold to the elusive Joseph Handy of Ft. Plain and Schenectady. Not a trace of the man on social media. The house has since become increasingly visible as a gang hangout, narcotics distribution point and an Airbnb for criminals. Sometimes there are young kids there, quickly gone.
The video opens zooming in on 328 Pleasant’s front porch. Seated is the Sykes gang’s manager for the four properties it controls on Pleasant Avenue and for 341 Eureka Avenue. His visitor’s a new face, and about to leave.
The young woman with the stroller receiving a gift from 328 Pleasant’s Caretaker [7:01:47] is Herkimer’s Alexis Rowe. She lives at the gang-controlled house next door to ours: 332 Pleasant Avenue, a Jay Smith property. Smith has long owned some key Sykes’ gang-controlled properties here in our pastoral village along the Mohawk. (He says he’s sold them. He hasn’t.)
To the other side of the gathering—small white porch– is 326 Pleasant Avenue. It’s also a Jay Smith property, gang-affiliated, with so many backpackers recently arriving on foot at all hours that they now leave their front door open 24/7. At 6:47:51 another courier arrives on foot and walks past the group and into 326.
8/31/19 Pleasant Ave – The Drugs Go Out
Product being in both by foot and car, it’s time to distribute it. Some will go out at night by cars seen traversing Pleasant Avenue. But much will go out the next day, 8/31, from 326 Pleasant Avenue. [6:10] The tall blonde has long been associated with of 326 Pleasant, usually seen bicycling about Herkimer wearing that backpack. [6:49] She’s been working the Village on and off for the six years we’ve been here. That day she got a ride. Dropping off a consignment with another local retailer?
Narcotics distribution via backpack picks up here in Herkimer whenever the feds crackdown on vehicular distribution. Were not seeing the multi-car volume of drug distribution we used to see out of Jay Smith’s Historic Child Trafficking lot to the rear of our house. (341 Eureka and 332-334 Pleasant Avenues.) In fact, it’s mostly Carrie Ann Bass, aka Carrie Ann Collins-Bass, doing the driving from there. She seems to enjoy diplomatic immunity in Herkimer.
We’ve been busy recently and it’s been quiet along the street. I wouldn’t have looked at the goings on here in the hood, if we weren’t again being subjected to poison gas attacks by our murderous band of neighbors, using high volume pesticide distribution gear installed under their vehicles.
Why? What don’t they want me to see? I asked as the poisoning picked up. So I looked. And now I know, this and more. And more to tell. Later.
For the moment, all trafficking activity has stopped: a few days after these events, someone–probably the gang’s 328 Pleasant’s Caretaker–was overheard to tell all to start taking their goods to alternate trafficking transfer points on Eureka and Eastern Avenues, parallel streets to either side of Pleasant Avenue. And not to walk down Pleasant Avenue. Experience says they’ll be back as drug trafficking rebounds. And our cameras will be waiting.
Kyle Stone, Herkimer gang performer best known for his fire and water gigs, on 7/22 took his art into the street. In an arresting two-hour performance on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue, Stone debuted a brilliantly choreographed show of gritty urban realism. His repertoire of antisocial behaviors interwove crack smoking, public intoxication and urination, drunken and and reckless driving, bullying, alleged property damage and assault.It was a microcosm of the Herkimer gang behaviors that have long blighted the community.
Stone was ably backed up by his band of fellow druggies, seen most nights on the porch of Jay Smith’s 332 Pleasant Avenue. One of them provided the gray Dodge Dart used by Kyle for his high-speed drunken runs. (Vehicle identification courtesy of Herkimer police.)
The show concluded with Kyle and the gang allegedly driving a reluctant participant off camera and beating him, according to Herkimer police. He’s the tall kid with glasses and cap who looks like he should be in the high school science club.
Below is a shorter version of the gang’s two-hour performance video provided Herkimer police at their request. Watch closely and you’ll see Kyle throughout, tying to bully the alleged beating victim into smoking something other than cigarettes. He fails. A tip of the big hat to Mr. Science for courage and personal integrity. It’s rare in Herkimer. May he find some friends worthy of him.
Video Timeline 0:01-0:37 Gang’s party car and driver arrive. (Gray Dodge Dart.) Driver goes into driveway of Jay Smith’s 332-334 Pleasant Ave. gang rentals.
0:38-1:21 Kyle Stone warms up for his performance.
1:22-1:31 Kyle staggers about. Watch as he tries to physically intimidate tall, non-drug using kid, later allegedly beaten up by Kyle.
1:32-1:58 Kyle dancing with seemingly lit crackpipe.
1:59-2:33 Kyle in driver’s seat, smokin’.
2:34-3:18 Kyle preps for his signature Dance-of-the-Piss. Car’s driver accompanies.
3:19-3:34 Kyle’s The-Dance-of-the-Piss.
3:35-3:52 Kyle returns to drivers’ seat of car. All now in car.
3:53-5:53 Kyle and gang merrily speed off to King Street. Return going to Protection Avenue. (Who is that woman and what was she doing off-camera?)
5:54-6:29 Speeds back down Pleasant Avenue to King Street. Allegedly caused property damage around PK’s Pub, according to Herkimer PD. Pub is on the corner of King and Pleasant.
6:30-7:02 Car again blasts down Pleasant Avenue toward Protection Avenue. This time does not return. Here Kyle’s alleged to have beaten the reluctant party-going kid.
7:03-8:19 Alleged beating victim returns on foot to 332 Pleasant. Appears to be in pain and agitated. Woman is 332’s sole wage-earner and apparently Kyle’s long-suffering relative.
8:20-End Herkimer police arrive.
Kyle Stone – Herkimer Boy-Next-Door in Action
Did Kyle beat anyone up? Don ‘t know. But if he thought he was being “disrespected”? Probably. Here’s a recent short video of Kyle’s antics with a shovel and neighbor Carrie Ann Bass, aka Carrie Ann Collins Bass., after he thought she’s disrespected him. She’s the keeper of the Stanley Sykes Gang’s 347 Eureka Avenue, to the right of the video. Guessing Kyle grew up while Carrie Ann was around. (Sykes and Stones are closely allied.)
In a Yuletide surprise, longtime area landlord Jay Smith gifted Herkimer drug and child traffickers a sanctuary. Smith owns 27 houses in our village, according to property tax rolls. He’s long rented out the three properties comprising Herkimer’s historic child trafficking hub: 332 and 334 Pleasant Avenue and 341 Eureka Avenue. At its height, we estimate hundreds of million dollars a year in trafficked kids were moved through that Herkimer waypoint by transcontinental trafficking gangs. Several million dollars a year were probably shared with partnering regional Herkimer gangs. Kids seem not to have moved through there since Stanley Sykes moved out last May.
This week, in a Christmas gift to the Herkimer community, Smith converted that dormant child trafficking hub into a housing sanctuary for the remnant of Herkimer’s drug and child traffickers: He tenanted 332 Pleasant Avenue, the last non-gang house on the hub, with more gang members.
Gang Moves Into Jay Smith’s 332 Pleasant Avenue
Thanks to climate change migration Herkimer’s real estate market is booming. Smith could easily have sold all three hub properties for good money, or rented 332 Pleasant to people with jobs. At this point in Herkimer, renting to criminals flies in the face of reason.
Herkimer’s Historic Child Trafficking Hub 4/1/18
Jay Smith’s Trafficking Hub: 4+ years of Gassing and Harassment
Appallingly, quite a few folks in Herkimer, not just the obvious criminals, seemed miffed at our exposure of the village’s brisk child sex slavery trade and disconcerted by the resulting loss of income. (“Our kids are our kids. Other people’s kids are meat,” seems the attitude.) At some point, merely shrugging your shoulders and saying, “It’s Herkimer” is depraved indifference.
The one bright spot in Jay Smith’s adjacent empire of dirt was his rental house next to ours, 332 Pleasant Avenue. It was tenanted for years by two low key professional guys who replaced evicted heroin addicts. They were our secure right flank through years of poison gas attacks and street assaults, many from Smith’s tenants.
Why is Jay Smith Still Renting to Criminal Trafficking Gang?
There was no sound business reason for Jay Smith to rent to more filth. He seems to be well off and is not young. Other than his trafficking hub tenants, there’s only a legacy criminal presence remaining here on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue. All houses for sale here on Pleasant Avenue have been sold. Properties move quickly. Realtors are hungry for inventory. Yet Smith seems to be busy preserving his trafficking hub as a gang sanctuary, when he could easily make a handsome profit by selling out or renting again to decent locals in an up market. Why?
As we reported, the New York State Police asked us recently if we thought Smith was complicit in the criminal activities of his tenants. We said no. At this point, though, it’s the only thing that makes sense. When something doesn’t make sense, follow the money.
As noted, Jay Smith owns 27 houses in Herkimer. It’s a small place. He has the capacity to do a lot of good here, giving back to a community from which he’s profited handsomely through the years. Or he can continue acquiescing to evil. Whichever he chooses, the Herkimer Post will cover it.
Video of Gang Move-In at 332 Pleasant Avenue
Here’s a video of trafficking gang members moving into Jay Smith’s 332 Pleasant Avenue. (Don’t know what that white powder is in the bag he’s waving at the camera. Confectionery sugar?) They had 3 full truck loads of stuff. They obviously don’t like surveillance cameras, which must be why they moved next door to house with 25 cameras fueling about 200,000 worldwide social media views a year. Oh. Our cameras cover all their doors.
The short smirking young woman on the porch is Herkimer gang member Alexis Rowe, known to us as Moonroof, after the white car she traffics with in out of the hub. Don’t know anyone else there, but they are of a type—infinitely replaceable young gang cutouts moving along the school to prison pipeline. Many don’t make it to 30.
0:17 Ganger sends us Yuletide greetings. Waves bag of white powder at camera. Probably not confectionery sugar.
0:18 Public fireworks, fire, fire dancing, staggering. (See above, white powder.)
0:47 Young couple moving fridge. Shown for facial recognition capture.
1:21 Walking across trafficking hub from 332 Pleasant Avenue to Bass’ 341 Eureka Avenue. (The latter is Herkimer’s Historic Stanley Sykes House. It competes for tourists with Smith’s Herkimer’s Historic Crackhouse at 318 Pleasant Avenue, and of course, the Joyce Barton Gang’s 333 Pleasant Avenue.)
1:35 Evidence of Life: a rare public appearance by Carrie Ann Bass, aka Carrie Ann Collins Bass, as she unloads her Sav-A-Lot bags at 341 Eureka. She’s accompanied by son Harvey, Stanley Sykes’s grandson. (Dad’s away on a heroin trafficking charge.)
A New York State Police investigator came by on 10/17 for an informational visit. He came in response to “several people in Albany…[who] expressed concern” following our widely-read Herkimer child trafficking series. It seemed our backgrounds had been verified beforehand. We appear to have been deemed credible and our postings plausible. We were shabbily dressed and well-spoken. (We’ll discuss that meeting and its implications in a later posting.)
We had a lengthy conversation about Herkimer child trafficking, ongoing poison gas attacks, the presence of regional and national gangs and their local members, and state and Herkimer Village policing. The investigator left with the information he needed for Albany. We were left with the certainty that the only authentic law enforcement in Herkimer is Federal.
Of keen interest to Albany was a Herkimer child trafficking update. We hadn’t posted any child trafficking material since April. (Busy adding cameras and staving off the poison gas attacks triggered by our postings.)
Had things changed? we were asked. Yes.
Kids Gone. Stanley Sykes Moved Out. His Gang Traffics On
All child trafficking within the view of our cameras faded following the publication of our child trafficking series. Stanley Sykes vacated his 341 Eureka Avenue rental in mid-May.
Herkimer Child Trafficking Hub Now Bustling Drug Hub
The Sykes gang was quick to convert the child trafficking hub to a bustling drug trafficking hub. They’d always trafficked drugs from there, but have really stepped up the pace since Stanley Sykes relocated. All their activities have become open and often brazen as they reassert dominance. They want us, and through us, you, to know they’re not afraid of cameras, social media, law enforcement. They pay. They’re protected. “In your face. We own this place.” is their message.
Here’s a recent typical day’s drug trafficking out of that grubby lot, sped up a bit to capture the frenetic pace:
Stanley Sykes has been heard to say he paid 10k for the rights to traffic out of that location. Seems those rights are still respected.
Herkimer gang’s message: “In your face. We own this place!”
Where Is Stanley Sykes? What Is He Doing?
Stanley hasn’t gone far. He’s often at at his old address on Eureka Avenue. Here he is the other day, hosting his gang for a smoke filled autumn evening of cracked-out good times at the gang’s trafficking hub:
Of course Herkimer’s shrinking criminal population hates us. They’ve long considered Herkimer a safe haven and Pleasant Avenue their own. Especially the parking lot and houses owned by landlord Jay Smith. 334 Pleasant Avenue and 341 Eureka Avenue, currently occupied by the Stanley Sykes gang, have a long tradition as a clandestine trafficking haven. The Sykes gang feels menaced by the prosperity creeping toward them down Pleasant Avenue including the major home renovation make overs at 331 and 328 Pleasant Ave. Al Murray’s garbage strewn lot has been purchased by a neighbor and now features grass, not trash. Pleasant Avenue is experiencing a return to its former state of quiet village charm.
From what we’ve seen, the Sykes gang tried wholesale trafficking out of the parking lot and 334 Pleasant Avenue in the traditional way, with vehicles. Guess that didn’t go well. Too obvious. Surveillance drones can quickly determine drug trafficking patterns and traffickers. Most people don’t want to see a return to the wild days on Pleasant Avenue when Joyce Barton was undisputed queen of the street’s bustling trafficking.
Some of Herkimer’s Sykes Gang’s Drug Delivery Vehicles
Two of the vehicles typically used by Herkimer’s Sykes gang to traffic out of Carrie Ann Bass’ rented house at 334 Pleasant Avenue Herkimer. (As with all Sykes gang rentals, a Jay Smith property.) Carrie Ann is allegedly Sykes’ daughter-in-law.
Stanley Sykes’ Gang Niche Drug Market: Backpack Drug Muling
Stanley Sykes, AKA Bob Sykes, may have found a niche market: backpack drug distribution. Backpacks have long been used to move narcotics around Herkimer. But it seems the Sykes gang has become a franchisee within a large network that mules narcotics on backs from town to town. Hard to spot and follow from surveillance drones. Stanley’s been doing a brisk business, building a backpack empire:
The pattern in the video’s clear: backpackers bring the drugs into Herkimer, arriving for distribution at Carrie Bass’ 344 Pleasant Avenue. (Bass is the mother of Stanley’s grandson Harvey, and herself a belligerent street harasser. Harvey’s dad is absent on a heroin trafficking charge.) Stanley Sykes, AKA Bob Sykes, greets and transports them locally or to their next destination. Sometimes the contraband they bring remains, crossing Pleasant Avenue to Joyce Barton’s at 333, coming back to 334 in bags and packs for local distribution. Or parceled out to allies along the street an din the village.)
Herkimer’s Hardest Working Teen
The teen at the end of the above video is seen everywhere in Herkimer Village. He’s a hard working, no-nonsense go-getter. Though at the end of the video, you’ll see he did have some time off. Here’s the outtake:
Viewers of our videos may recognize Jesse McClaren walking with the young backpacker. Jesse soared to YouTube fame as Herkimer’s Historic Crack House Keeper. Like Stanley Syke’s daughter Kyra, he was later arrested for assaulting an elderly war vet. (Me.)
It’s videos like Stanley Sykes’ Backpack Empire and analysis like this that helped end Pleasant Avenue’s wholesale drug trafficking. And put Herkimer on the map. They’ve also caused Stanley Sykes, AKA Bob Sykes, to diversify to an a nearby alternate location, known only to the Sykes gang and government surveillance drones.
Drug Gang Poisons South Herkimer
Street thug tactics succeeded in getting Sykes’ daughter Kyra arrested for criminal harassment. Retaliatory pesticides then began streaming and misting into our yard and windows from Stanley’s parking area, Pleasant Avenue and the rear of another Jay Smith rental a few doors down.
An onslaught of drive-by misting attacks poisoned not only us and our home, but our neighbors and their children too. The poison mists generated from a witches brew of at least three pesticides drifted for blocks in the muggy August air, sickening people and pets. NYDEC became involved. Law enforcement virtually embargoed Pleasant Avenue. Surveillance drones still fill the skies. Yet as recently as 0724 this morning, fresh pesticide misted in from the direction of 334 Pleasant Avenue rear.
Our attackers took their poisoning preparations seriously. Here’s a Sykes gang member (whom we refer to as Glowering Goat Beard), and what seems a consultant, inspecting the target area of our home. (The helmet should go on before coming into camera range, not after.)
Tips on your Historic Herkimer Meth Encampment adventure tour
While things are much quieter here in south Herkimer Village than they’ve probably been in the last decade, it’s not too late to see a historic Herkimer meth encampment. As you drive along Route 5 from the commercial center of Herkimer east towards Little Falls and just before you cross the bridge over West Canada Creek, you’ll see a dirt road on the right. After a hundred feet or so, it passes an earthen flood control barrier on the left. Walk along the top of the barrier in the direction of the old Herkimer Trolley Bridge for just a few yards, then head down the slope to the right continuing towards an area of ancient gnarled trees and brambles. Nestled within you’ll see a tarp, sleeping bag, child’s blanket, empty jar, part of a chair, and sheltered wood dry for a new fire.
Imagine what it was like camping here, and how visible it would have been from the main road to any folks driving between Herkimer and Lowe’s and glancing towards south, and of course from the score of windows of Herkimer’s high-rise Nathan Galinsky apartments, a few hundred yards the other side of the dirt road.
don’t miss the herkimer meth bridge and herkimer’s historic crack house
After touring the old meth encampment, continue on down the dirt road about 1/4 of a mile, and turn left onto the cornfield road. At its end lies the eerie Herkimer Meth Bridge. And if your schedule permits, round out your Herkimer narcotics tour with a visit to the historic Herkimer Crack House, just a few minutes away at 318 Pleasant Avenue. Herkimer’s welcoming crack house keeper’s always happy to chat with passersby.
more photos of the historic herkimer meth encampment
The Herkimer Meth Bridge incident Part 3. Part 1 tells how we stumbled upon a meth cook site beneath a major railway bridge in Herkimer NY and what we did about it. The bridge carries about 1,000 chemical tanker cars a day. Part 2 of the Herkimer Meth Bridge showed the initial massive state and federal response. In Part 3, you’ll see why there was such a massive response and what’s been done to safeguard the rails and lives and, as a wise man wrote, “Make Herkimer Safe Again.”
HARBINGER OF DEATH – THE DOT-111 CHEMICAL TANKER CAR
The DOT-111 chemical tanker car is the fragile workhorse of the chemical refinery industry. There are 272,000 DOT-111’s in service in the United States, comprising 67% of the US rail tanker fleet. 171,000 of them transport hazardous materials. The DOT-111 is highly susceptible to corrosion and containment failure. All models are notoriously fragile–critics call them “soda pop cans.”
Each car can carry 20,000+ gallons (78,200 L). The newer DOT-11A100W1 can weigh as much as 263,000 pounds (119,000 kg) when full. They transport a witch’s brew of poisonous and volatile chemicals over our neglected, rickety national railway infrastructure. The DOT-111 is always a disaster waiting to happen.
My conservative guess is that over a thousand chemical tanker cars a day, most of them DOT-111’s, cross the CSX railway bridge over Herkimer’s West Canada Creek. The trains are frequent, often several an hour, and long, sometimes with as many as 100 DOT-111’s or other chemical tankers per train, sometimes just a few buffered by regular freight cars. The CSX line that traverses the Herkimer Meth Bridge is the major east-west rail conduit to and from the Northeastern United States.
WHAT’S IN THE TANKer CARS?
According to Pollution Law Watch, besides crude oil, the DOT-111 transports radioactive material, explosives, and some of the most toxic chemicals on earth… among them methyl bromide, ethyl trichlorosilane, methanol, sodium chlorate, sulfuric acid, chlorine, toluene, diisocyanate. Several are fatal if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Many if spilled have a recommended evacuation radius of 5-10 miles.
(Assuming a derailment at the Herkimer Meth Bridge, that would be at least Herkimer, East Herkimer, Mohawk, Little Falls and a large stretch of the New York State Turnpike. and the Erie Canal.)
In a 2005 train wreck in Graniteville, SC, a single derailed DOT-111 tank car carrying 90 tons of chlorine released 60 tons of chlorine gas, killing 9 residents, injuring another 250 and forcing the evacuation of 5,400 people for two weeks:
Amid the heap of derailed railway cars above lies the breached DOT-111 chemical tanker car that spewed 60,000 tons of deadly chlorine gas across Graniteville, SC.
Derailment of any chemical tanker car anywhere can wreak havoc, destroying lives, property and the environment. The degree of devastation is determined by the volume and type of chemicals released, which depends upon the number of chemical tanker cars involved. In the horrific Lac Megantic disaster, six million liters of crude petroleum oil from 63 DOT-111 cars killed 47 and destroyed half the town. In Granitesville, one DOT-111 tanker car breach gassed 9 residents to death and injured 250. Both incidents occurred on land with no direct impact on watercourses. Here in Central New York, though, our major east-west railway line often parallels the Erie Canal and the Mohawk River:
The Herkimer Meth Bridge and Tanker car CATASTROPHE
There are no online specs of the West Canada Creek railway bridge’s span. But just upstream is the much loved and long abandoned Herkimer Trolley bridge, which is 1,023.5 feet long. The bridges appear to be approximately the same length.
The Herkimer Trolley Bridge and the West Canada Creek Railway Bridge
Herkimer Trolley Bridge (just below Rt. 5 highway bridge), and West Canada Creek railway bridge (bottom).
Given the DOT-111’s horrific history, many if not all the cars would breach, potentially spewing 484,000 gallons, or 15,242 tons of toxic chemicals into Herkimer’s air and water. Other DOT-111 cars that fell onto the embankments would also breach. The immediate nature and extent of the disaster in the Herkimer area would depend upon the cars’ contents: explosion, fire, poison gas or all three are possible. Whatever the outcome, it wouldn’t be pretty. And the rest of the hellish stuff would quickly flow 1/2 mile down the fast-moving West Canada into the Mohawk River and from there on into the Hudson River. It wouldn’t be the BP Oil spill, but the Hudson’s not the Gulf of Mexico.
The Hudson River Watershed
Of the 65 major tributaries of the Hudson River, the Mohawk River is the largest, entering the Hudson near Albany. The Hudson River Watershed is comprised of 11 major sub-watersheds that drain approximately 13,400 square miles. About 60% of the water in the watershed is used for commercial or industrial purposes and is home to about 5 million people. Such a massive toxic spill would destroy marine ecologies and impact the health and livelihoods of the 5 million people who live in the Hudson River Watershed for a very long time. hudson-river-watersheds
the herkimer meth bridge today
The good news: since last winter law enforcement action at the Herkimer Meth Bridge, the bridge has seen a lot of much-needed rail bed improvement, and upgraded electronic safety features.
Most nights you can see several drones on station over West Canada Creek near the railway bridge, with others patrolling through the sky in every-changing surveillance patterns. Sometimes they hover lower, as one did last night in the vicinity of Herkimer’s Eureka Avenue. (They don’t have to leave their navigation lights on. And probably sometimes don’t. That’s just a friendly hello. )
why herkimer has surveillance drones
It’s not just the bridge incident. That was but symptomatic of the anarchy spawned by Herkimer’s lawlessness and its rich tradition of failed governance.
It’s made the Village of Herkimer a pirate haven harboring all sorts of criminals, notably narcotics and child traffickers. Then came the threat of mass destruction posed by a potential rail disaster, mindlessly touched off by Herkimer’s cop-coddled criminals. So Herkimer is now guarded by drones. Lots of them.
Depending on the type of drone, operators can track up to 65 different targets across a distance of 65 square miles. Drone cameras have infrared, complemented by heat sensors, motion detectors and automated license plate readers. Military and police drones integrated with facial recognition technology and multiple databases make it possible to remotely identify persons of interest.
the battle for herkimer
The battle for the Herkimer Meth Bridge was but part of the battle for Herkimer and the future of New York. From a broader perspective, New York appears to be aggregating resources to Central New York in anticipation of climate change driving industry and people inland and north. Worldwide, we’re facing the largest migration of populations since the collapse of the Roman Empire. Our region has a wealth of natural resources. Herkimer’s strategic location astride principal transportation routes with quick access to major metropolitan areas are what attracted the organized crime and now, the state and federal governments. The team with the biggest stick wins. Care to bet?
The Herkimer Post would like to thank the officers of the New York State Police and agents of the US Department of Homeland Security, without whose vigilance and dedication to duty this series would not have been written. Also a grand tip of the hat to Night Court and Trapper Ron.
“Ice is nice and will suffice” Robert Frost, Fire and Ice
Despite Night Court’s warning to stay out of the woods, a few days after alerting the New York State Police to the danger, we set out to return to West Canada Creek and the Herkimer Meth Bridge. It’s a ten minute walk from our home in Herkimer Village’s Camera House.
Despite it being mid-winter, there was only a dusting of snow. Bear leading the way, we turned from the CSX access road and onto the cornfield road that goes to the bridge. And stopped, confronted by an alien landscape. Neither we nor anyone else was getting to that bridge until after the Spring thaw:
The ice was neatly sculpted, as became more apparent when a few months later it began to melt:
The other side of the bridge had been given the same treatment, preventing land access from the south:
Only a few days before, an unharvested field of corn had filled the huge cornfield. The corn was gone. The field looked as though it had hosted tank maneuvers:
Folks who hadn’t recently ventured over to the village’s cornfield road told us the ice was a natural occurrence–West Canada Creek was subject to flooding that would often lay swathes of ice along its banks.
If this was the river god in action, he’d perfectly laid out the ice along the road, paralleling the tree line and the flood control levee. And he’d used some truly impressive equipment.
Other areas of cover and concealment near the cornfield road had also been scrubbed:
After the ice melted the bridge sprouted earthworks, blocking vehicular access:
the hammer of god quickly falls
The response to the threat was on the order of the Hammer of God. We were astounded by its scope and speed and the resources it must have required. It may have been drawn from a contingency plan, but there’s many a slip between plan and execution. It was a rapid, meticulous and flawlessly executed, multi-agency effort, probably involving the State of New York, the Federal government and possibly the Army Corp of Engineers.
The law enforcement agencies responsible knew what was traveling across that bridge day and night: the angel of death of the rails, the DOT-111 chemical tanker car. Hundreds of them roll across the Herkimer Meth Bridge every day. No wonder the Big Red Button was pushed.
Late January of this year in Central New York was unusually mild. Linda, dog Bear and I were happy to continue our morning walks in and around historic Herkimer Village.
On one of those winter walks, we discovered Herkimer’s abundant drug traffickers and manufacturers had also taken advantage of the nice weather to cook and distribute meth from beneath the safety of a major CSX railway bridge. The bridge passes over West Canada Creek, about 1/4 mile from its confluence with the Mohawk River. It carries about a thousand chemical tanker cars a day. The criminals had no idea and even less concern for the catastrophe they could have unleashed.
Drug traffickers had been largely absent from Pleasant Avenue, Herkimer’s principal drug street, since mid-November, after we published a series of videos documenting and analyzing one night’s drug trafficking along Pleasant Avenue, and shared it with the New York State Police. (With the drug traffickers mostly gone, Pleasant Avenue is again looking pleasant.)
A well-traveled public path runs beneath the bridge, paralleling West Canada Creek and a few hundred yards later, both it and the Mohawk River, moving down a narrowing spit of land between the two to their confluence, known locally as The Point. (West Canada Creek at the bridge is wider than many rivers.)
herkimer meth makers move – a bit
Driven from Herkimer Village by the state and the feds, Herkimer’s meth makers had brazenly set up a semi-permanent encampment in plain sight of the public path, hidden from aerial observation by the CSX railroad bridge. As the Herkimer Police had never troubled them in the village itself, their only concern would have been the New York State Police and the DEA, who probably relied heavily on aerial observation for activities outside the village.
The path under the bridge gets a lot of foot traffic–it’s the remains of an old road predating the Erie Canal, and a pleasant walk or easy ATV drive to The Point. Herkimites have long known to mind their own business when signs of drug and child trafficking appear, or risk an intimidating visit from the Herkimer Police or nighttime visits from neighbors. And despite its closeness to the village proper, no one goes to the CSX railway bridge area after dark.
For ease of transport, the bridge could be quickly reached by vehicle from Herkimer’s East State Street via a dirt road running past an adjacent cornfield and flood control levee. We’d noticed the tent shown in the below photo for about a month, but hadn’t given it much mind. It was just another feature of the desolation zone near the railway bridge, a bleak and eerie place scattered with the derbies of stunted lives and failed hopes.
herkimer’s eerie desolation zone
Herkimer meth bridge encampment
When we’d last noticed the tent, there’d been no large plastic tarp, no translucent storage box filled with what appeared to small plastic envelopes of some crystalline substance, nor discards typically used in methamphetamine production.Whatever heat source was used for a night’s meth cook could have easily been removed by pickup truck.
We didn’t look to see if there was anyone in the tent, but thought if we opened the plastic box, we might find out. We’d seen identical boxes confiscated by the New York State Police during an early morning drug raid on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue. Also, it seemed likely someone might soon be by to pick up the box of valuable goods. So we left.
Exchange with the New York State Police
I emailed a narrative and a raft of photos of the encampment to the New York State Police command center in Albany. I noted that one of the photos indicated possible scorching of an adjacent concrete bridge abutment, adding:
The bridge is well-built and itself probably impervious to a typical meth explosion, IMO. But any explosion under the bridge could trigger catastrophic consequences: e.g., a panicked train operator jamming on the brakes at an explosion and the sight of [fire] erupting from beneath the bridge could trigger a derailment. As you’re aware, hundreds of tanker cars filled with deadly, highly volatile chemicals cross that bridge daily. Were one or more of them to fall into West Canada Creek so near its confluence with the Mohawk, it could cause an environmental cataclysm from here down to NYC.Our village leaders often speak of “putting Herkimer on the map.” That would do it.
The state police quickly replied, asking me not to say anything until they could deploy resources. Which they did. I’ve kept silent till now, but if you look up at night sky you’ll see a solution is in place, providing comprehensive surveillance of the bridge, local waterways and Herkimer.
I sent a copy of my email to the state police and the photos to an old friend from Army Intelligence, Night Court. (“Some justice is best meted out in the dark.”)
Night Court has a key role in US counter-terrorism. I thought he should know that while all eyes are elsewhere, meth heads in Herkimer New York
had put a major railway bridge and the Hudson River watershed at risk of an ecological 9/11. What damage, I asked, could people who knew what they were doing cause? “It’s the Wild West here. Deadwood had more law and order than Herkimer. And it’s the backdoor to NYC and the rest of America.”
I was confident that the New York State Police and DEA would deal with immediate threat with their usual efficiency, but release of counter-terrorism funds–a bottomless treasure chest–to expand their operations might help provide the resources necessary for a permanent solution. Not that they’d be shy to ask, but if anyone could help catalyze that, it would be Night Court. The US takes any threat to its rail and waterways very seriously, especially since 9/11, and the Herkimer Meth Bridge represented both.
Night Court wrote back: You might want to invest in a MAC 10. That’s dangerous work for someone of our age.[He has long enjoyed pushing my buttons.] Speak for yourself, Night Court! I’m not entirely convinced you’re always in that nice office. There seems to be a notion that we dodder about in the woods, looking for stuff. We don’t. Those pictures were taken along a popular trail from the village to the point of land where West Canada Creek and the Mohawk meet. It’s about a ½ mile from our home and Herkimer Village proper.
I added that we would be going back along that public trail to the bridge in a few days. And nothing, as our neighbors can attest, stops us from asserting our right of way.
Only later did I wonder if Night Court had known what we’d be walking into.
When we first saw the interior of our new old house on Herkimer’s Pleasant Avenue, the soft winter light streamed in from numerous well-placed windows, gently illuminating the warm pastel colors on the walls. It felt so good, so homey–I decided to buy it in only 10 minutes.
I still love my house and the abundance of breathtaking natural places that surround it here along the Mohawk, but the brutal warfare of the last two years has been a trial. When we purchased our home at 330 Pleasant Ave in Herkimer, New York, we were unaware that a vicious war would shortly ensue, one between us and the entrenched gang of criminals who’ve occupied Pleasant Avenue and much of South Herkimer Village since at least 2011.
I’ve lived in many places including two war zones, but never before encountered the level of depravity that exists on Pleasant Avenue. I believe that the numerous techniques used by at least one organized criminal gang are their proven tool set, quite effective in ridding them of unwanted attention for years, if not decades.
However, Herkimer’s criminals have been slow on the uptake and ignorant of the changes in the world around them. Two forces have been acting against them. One is climate change. As our planet grows increasingly stressed by hostile weather conditions and the resulting fires, droughts and famines, more and more eyes are turning towards the vast abundance of natural resources we possess here in the Mohawk, Adirondack and Great Lakes region.
Most people are blind to the incredible wealth of our region. But many aren’t. If you look you’ll see how much renovation there’s has been in the past few years, not just in Herkimer and Herkimer County, but also in Albany and Syracuse. State and federal government and corporations recognize this as a strategic climate survival area. If you’re perceptive, you’ll see the result of some of the heavy hammers quietly obliterating the criminal enterprises that long flourished unchallenged in Herkimer.
The Internet is another major force opposing these soulless purveyors of drugs, kids, willful harm and death. Inexpensive technology offers each and every one of us the ability to observe, record and comment on what we see. And our rights as Americans grant us the freedom to do so. The Internet is a force for communication and a weapon for good in the ongoing war between criminals and their prey.
In the last two years we have spent $5,000 on cloud data storage, security services, surveillance cameras, web hosting and internet service not to mention thousands of hours of our time. We have suffered personal property losses due to vandalism by our neighbors and have experienced outrageous harassment. My children have vowed never to enter Herkimer again.
Recently we have seen encouraging changes in this community. Fire Chief Spanfelner has taken over code enforcement and is patrolling the streets taking effective action. Our street has been quieter and the former haunted house across the way has undergone significant renovation by Paul and Don.
Herkimer Village is an outstanding place to create a sustainable community that will help us live in these trying times of climate change. All it takes to succeed is a community commitment to fortify our resources of services, infrastructure, people and education. Each person in this community can take a role and assume a responsibility for our continued and successful survival.