East Hampton Town harbormaster Don Bousson has been arrested on a possession of marijuana charge after an anonymous tipster in Florida alerted Suffolk Crime Stoppers, police said Wednesday.
Bousson, 55, was "shocked" when officers stopped him on Three Mile Harbor Road in East Hampton on Monday night at a roadblock - a checkpoint set up because of the call to Crime Stoppers, East Hampton Police Chief Todd H. Sarris said. "I think the appropriate word would be nervous," he said. "I think he was shocked."
Police found a half-pound of marijuana in the car and arrested Bousson, charging him with third-degree illegal possession of marijuana - a Class E felony punishable by 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison, if convicted.
"The system does work," Sarris said.
Police said a caller contacted the Suffolk County Police Crime Stoppers hotline about 6:30 p.m. Monday - and said Bousson was arrested less than two hours later.
Sarris said the Crime Stoppers call originated in Florida and said the caller said Bousson was en route from Florida with the marijuana in his car.
He said the caller gave police a description of the car and of Bousson, including his name and date of birth.
He said Suffolk County police immediately contacted East Hampton police and that two units were dispatched to establish a checkpoint.
Sarris said Bousson was stopped at that location at 8:15 p.m. He said officers found the marijuana, which police believe was for personal use.
Bousson has worked for the Town of East Hampton for 21 years and faces sanctions or dismissal by the town board, in addition to possible jail or prison time. Officials said Bousson has been relieved of duty pending a decision by the town board.
Sarris said his department is preparing "paperwork on the case" for presentation to the board. It was unclear when the board would meet to make a decision on the case - or whether it would wait until a resolution of the legal case against Bousson.
Bousson appeared in East Hampton Town Justice Court on Tuesday for arraignment and was released on $500 bail after entering a not-guilty plea. Attempts to reach him and his lawyer Wednesday were not successful.
Sarris said he was disappointed by the arrest. "He's a law enforcement officer. Even though he's not a cop, he's a peace officer. He's wearing a weapon. . . . And I think that all has to be factored in" to the town board's decision, he said.