Two Avoca Residents Charged For Alleged Cocaine Possession, On 390

October 24, 2019

Statement From Livingston County Sheriff Tom Dougherty:

Livingston County Sheriff Thomas J. Dougherty reports the arrest of two (2) Steuben County residents on drug related charges after a traffic stop.

On October 19, 2019 Deputy Jerry Pilkenton was assigned to the Sheriff’s Office Operation Safe Interstate initiative when he stopped a vehicle on Interstate 390 for a violation of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law.

The operator of the vehicle was identified as Stephan D. Pierson, age 26 from Avoca NY and a passenger in the vehicle was identified as Dakota J. Costello, age 27 from Avoca NY. The Deputy Sheriff suspected that the occupants of the vehicle were involved in drug activity and conducted a roadside drug investigation.

The roadside investigation revealed that Pierson and Costello were each in possession of approximately three (3) grams of cocaine, totaling approximately six grams.

Pierson and Costello were arrested and charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 5th Degree (weight). Pierson was additionally charged with felony Tampering with Physical Evidence as it is alleged that he attempted to hide the drugs during the traffic stop in order to prevent the investigating Deputies from discovering it.

Both Pierson and Costello were turned over to Central Booking Deputies at the Livingston County Jail for processing and pre-arraignment detention. The District Attorney’s Office was contacted in regards to bail due to the felony level charges. It was recommended that the each be held on $2,500 cash bail or $5,000 bond.

Pierson and Costello were later arraigned at the Livingston County Centralized Arraignment Part (LC-CAP) at the Livingston County Jail before Town of Caledonia Justice Mark Riggi. The Judge did remand both Pierson and Costello to the custody of the Sheriff on the recommended bail of $2,500 cash or $5,000 bond.

Deputy Matthew Thomas assisted with the investigation and arrests.

“Starting January 1st 2020, many different level crimes are not allowable for the suspect to be held on bail,” stated Sheriff Dougherty. “The above case is a good example where a judge will not be able to hold the defendant on bail and instead will be required to release them per the new law.”