ALBANY, N.Y. - Albany County officials say Deputy County Executive Christine Quinn has been arrested on drug charges Tuesday.
Quinn was arrested after an investigation by federal, state, and local authorities into an attempt to obtain prescription drugs.
She pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance in Colonie Town Court and was released on her own recognizance on pre-trial probation. Terms of probation will be set by the District Attorney's Office.
Albany County District Attorney David Soares says the charges stem from her alleged abuse of the prescription drug Ritalin. He says the abuse went on for about seven months.
Quinn has served as Deputy County Executive under Dan McCoy since 2012 with a salary of $106,000, according to officials.
"She's done her job with due diligence," said McCoy about his second-in-command, adding he never caught on to her drug use.
He says that he doesn't feel Quinn's arrest will have an impact on the office.
"I have no reason to believe the integrity of our office or Albany County government has been compromised," he said.
The State Health Department's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement says the arrest was a result of the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act (I-STOP), legislation to directly address the epidemic of prescription drug abuse.
State Health Department's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (BNE) Director Terence O'Leary:
"Today's arrest is the result of a coordinated investigation following the implementation of Governor Cuomo's comprehensive prescription drug reform law and the Department of Health's BNE's enforcement of the new law. The recent launch of the enhanced Prescription Monitoring Program, which provides real-time information on the sale of controlled substances, was key to triggering this investigation and today's arrest. As the epidemic of prescription drug abuse continues in this country, law enforcement and state health officials will continue to aggressively enforce the Governor's law."
Given that Quinn is the first person to be charged under the new law, Soares says they are proceeding carefully.
"This is a person whose engaged in this behavior with no collateral crime, which are factors that are usually taken in when we are talking about criminal liability and exposure. So we're taking this case very seriously but also we're trending very slowly since this is a case of first exposure," he said.
Soares will be prosecuting the case, and says the fact that he considers Quinn "a near and dear friend" will not have an impact on his prosecution.
"What we do is we engage in a dispassionate review of the facts and gathering of evidence and there is one standard of law that is applicable to every person in this court," he said.