NORWICH – Last Saturday, a Tompkins County resident was caught in the City of Norwich with a glass jar of marijuana and a significant number of candies which contained the narcotic drug ecstasy, said authorities. The man appeared in Norwich City Court on Tuesday where his felony charge and bail were reduced.
Norwich police arrested 29-year-old Robert F. Goodwin of Spencer at approximately 4:05 a.m. on March 28 on S. Broad St. in the City of Norwich after he was stopped for a traffic violation.
During the traffic stop, the arresting officer said he smelled an “overwhelming odor of marijuana emanating from inside [Goodwin's] vehicle.”
NPD K-9 Nitro was dispatched to search the vehicle.
Upon Nitro searching the vehicle, a glass jar containing marijuana and individually wrapped caramel candies containing a narcotic drug known as “MDMA” or “ecstasy” were allegedly found inside Goodwin's vehicle.
The caramel candy containing the ecstasy had an aggregate weight of 40.2 grams.
According to NPD Chief Rodney Marsh, there have not been any other instances of candy with ecstasy in the area.
“Not for a while anyway,” said Marsh. “We were surprised ourselves to see it in that form.”
“The officers did a good job of taking the extra time to inspect and question the ‘candy’ and to conduct a field narcotic test kit on it to determine what it really was,” he added.
Goodwin was charged with the class C felony of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree and the class A misdemeanor of unlawful possession of marijuana.
He was arraigned by Judge James E. Downey in Norwich City Court and remanded to the Chenango County Correctional Facility in lieu of $5,000 cash bail.
On March 31, Goodwin reappeared in Norwich City Court for a felony hearing.
Before the hearing, Second Assistant District Attorney Thomas Bowen said a felony hearing “wouldn't be necessary.”
“This is staying local,” said Bowen.
Although the aggregate weight of the candies was more than half an ounce, Bowen said the weight is largely attributed the caramel itself and not the MDMA, a type of methamphetamine.
Downey compared the caramel candy containing ecstasy to brownies containing marijuana.
Bowen agreed the case was similar to dealing with baked goods containing marijuana. “Yes, it's like marijuana brownies,” he said.
Downey said the case required a “felony knockdown.”
The Judge and Second ADA said the felony statute required the narcotic drug of methamphetamine to weigh more than half an ounce in order for it to be considered a felony.
Because there was no way of extracting and weighing how much MDMA was in the candies and because most of the weight of the candies could be attributed to caramel, the alleged possession of the narcotic candies containing ecstasy could only be considered a misdemeanor.
Goodwin's class C felony of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree was reduced to the class A misdemeanor of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree.
The class A misdemeanor of unlawful possession of marijuana was not affected and remained.
According to Downey, Goodwin was born and raised in Long Island, and he inherited the Spencer home he currenlty lives in from his grandparents.
Goodwin’s public defender, John Cameron, said his client was honorably discharged from the Marines six years ago.
Goodwin said while he was in the Marines, he worked in special intelligence communications.
Because Goodwin's felony was reduced to a misdemeanor, Downey also reduced Goodwin's bail from $5,000 cash to $500 cash or a $1,000 bond.
“If you post bail, make sure your are here, or I will issue a warrant for your arrest,” said Downey to Goodwin.
After appearing in court, Goodwin posted $500 cash bail and was released from the county jail. He is to reappear in Norwich City Court at a later date.