Crime Watch

Bellmore-Merrick men arrested on drug charges


After a presumed drug deal followed by a car chase from East Meadow to Bellmore, 1st Precinct detectives apprehended a Merokean and a Bellmorite last Tuesday, according to police.

Anthony Castano, 23, of Merrick, and James Gauthier, 45, of Bellmore, were arrested on Jan. 14 when officers who were conducting a narcotics investigation spotted the pair in East Meadow. Police said they saw the men meet for what they believed to be a drug deal.

According to Nassau County Police, Castano pulled into a parking lot on North Jerusalem Road around 9 p.m. There, Gauthier got into Castano’s car, and the two had a brief conversation, police said. Because officers believed a drug deal occurred, they approached the car and ordered Castano to shut off his engine and show his hands.

Police said they saw a large, clear-plastic bag with smaller, clear bags containing what they believed to be crack-cocaine in Castano’s lap. Gauthier surrendered at the scene, but Castano refused officers’ commands and tried to swallow the bags, resisting police when they tried to get him out of the car.

In an attempt to evade arrest, police said, Castano accelerated his vehicle, hitting an unmarked police car. He then sped west on North Jerusalem Road before crashing into a utility pole near the Bellmore Avenue intersection.

The Nassau County Police Emergency Services Unit and the North Bellmore and East Meadow fire departments responded and removed him from the car. He was taken into custody and rushed to an area hospital, where he was admitted in stable condition, police said.

Castano was charged with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree criminal mischief and tampering with physical evidence. At press time, however, he was yet to be arraigned because of the accident, according to officials. He will be arraigned as soon as medically practical.

Gauthier was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and released on an appearance ticket. He will return to First District Court in Hempstead on Feb. 3.