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Area PD’s & MSCU Execute Major Drug Bust

Law enforcement files criminal charges against 37 individuals

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 23 & 24, 2015

THURSDAY UPDATE: More on this as it develops. Join us tomorrow, Friday, as we follow up on the Colorado connection regarding drugs produced in Tioga County.

Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015 — Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced the results of a successful third deployment for the innovative law enforcement unit she created to target drug trafficking and related criminal activity in municipalities across the Commonwealth.

Attorney General Kane at a morning news conference said her Mobile Street Crimes Unit (MSCU) was responsible for filing criminal charges against 37 individuals during its recent deployment in Tioga, Bradford and Potter counties.

The MSCU also conducted more than 40 illegal narcotics investigations, which led to controlled purchases of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, bath salts, prescription pills, medical grade marijuana, marijuana wax and hashish, a potent form of cannabis.

“The investigations the Mobile Street Crimes Unit conducted over the last several months serve as an important reminder that the drug epidemic our state suffers from affects every community,” said Attorney General Kane, who spoke to members of the media this morning at the Wellsboro Fire Department Annex.

“I strongly believe this unit has made a significant impact in the communities in which it has been deployed. It is vital moving forward that we continue to emphasize a collaborative approach with our law enforcement partners,” Attorney General Kane said.

Tioga County District Attorney Krista Deats, Wellsboro Police Chief Jim Bodine and other local law enforcement officials joined Attorney General Kane at the news conference. She thanked Deats and Bodine for their support during the recent deployment, as well as Potter County District Attorney Andy Watson and Bradford County District Attorney Daniel Barrett.

Attorney General Kane stressed the deployment was a success due to the close relationships MSCU agents and attorneys developed with local law enforcement as they all worked on a number of collaborative investigations.

Starting Tuesday morning, the MSCU, other agents with the Office of Attorney General and local authorities partnered for “Operation Northern Tier Takedown,” a sweep in which active arrest warrants were served on alleged criminals identified during the MSCU deployment. The effort was the culmination of the unit’s deployment, which began in March.

The MSCU was created to visit Pennsylvania municipalities where drug trafficking and related criminal activity are present. The unit stays in one area for at least six months.

The unit’s agents also relocate to the communities where they work and cultivate close relationships with local authorities as they work on collaborative investigations. Agents and attorneys are cross-designated between the Attorney General’s office and local law enforcement.

The intelligence and operational framework the MSCU established during its deployment will remain in the hands of local authorities, with whom the unit will continue to work in the months ahead.

“We felt something had to be done to fight back against the impact drugs have had on our communities,” District Attorney Deats said. “Bringing the Mobile Street Crimes Unit here was the best thing we could do. The unit truly made an impact and we’re proud of that.”

As of mid-September, the MSCU had initiated 42 illegal narcotics investigations during its third deployment. This occurred after law enforcement officials in 2014 reported only 15 known instances of illegal drug sales in Tioga County.

MSCU agents also investigated complaints of nuisance bars and assisted local and Pennsylvania State Police with other criminal investigations including burglaries, thefts and fraud. While conducting a narcotics trafficking investigation with Canton Police, MSCU agents interviewed a man who admitted committing a burglary in Bradford County and stealing firearms from a residence to pay for a drug debt. MSCU agents facilitated a meeting with the individual and Pennsylvania State Police in which the man gave a written and recorded confession to state police, admitting to the crime.

Others arrested and taken into custody included a Mansfield University student charged with selling marijuana wax on campus outside a dorm. Agents were assisted by Mansfield University Police. Another individual who was charged with selling heroin was taken into custody after agents observed him injecting suspected heroin into his arm while sitting in a parked car in a parking lot.

Two other individuals arrested were fugitives who were discovered by agents hiding in a trailer underneath a bed with an allegedly loaded stolen firearm. Agents found the two fugitives as they worked together with the Tioga County Sheriff’s Office, helping to serve warrants. In addition to finding the stolen firearm, agents and sheriff’s deputies also discovered illegal bath salts and a large quantity of assorted drug paraphernalia.

The MSCU also partnered with a Pennsylvania Wildlife Conservation Officer on a case that led to criminal charges against a man accused of growing roughly a dozen marijuana plants on state land in the Tioga State Forest. The unit initiated a separate undercover investigation at Bear’s Picnic, an annual music festival, which led to two arrests and the seizure of baked goods containing suspected hashish and various drug paraphernalia .

“The cooperation that we have with the agents for the Mobile Street Crimes Unit is critical to the work we’re all doing to improve public safety,” Chief Bodine said. “We are extremely grateful for the Office of Attorney General’s efforts and we will continue to work together to make the community safer for our residents.”

The MSCU’s recent deployment also included a strong emphasis on training and law enforcement education. The unit and the Wellsboro Police Department jointly hosted a number of training classes that were attended by various local law enforcement agencies from Tioga, Bradford, Potter and Lycoming counties. Below is a sampling of the topics that were covered:

•Drug interdiction: This class focused on drug interdiction, which involves law enforcement working to seize drugs that are being smuggled into a particular area. This training featured information on how to detect packages containing suspected drugs.

•Active shooter law enforcement response training: This training program, held at Wellsboro High School, was designed to help prepare first responders to neutralize an active shooter. The training covered shooting and moving, threshold evaluation, concepts and principles of team movement, setting up for room entry and room entry techniques, strategies for approaching and breaching the crisis site, and post-engagement priorities of work. Training ammunition was used to add realism to the exercise.

•Drug identification and confidential informant (CI) development: This class focused on the preliminary field identification of illegal and diverted drugs. The class also included information on the dangers of methamphetamine laboratories. Another focus was how to develop, manage and cultivate confidential informants.

•Tactical entry training and warrant execution: This training focused on protocols for entering buildings safely and executing warrants.

•Presentation for realtor safety month: This presentation was designed to help offer safety tips to area realtors. For example, realtors received information on how to identify past drug activity in a residence and how to protect themselves from potentially being harmed.

The Mobile Street Crimes Unit’s work in the state’s northern tier followed other successful deployments in Hazleton and Harrisburg. The unit was responsible for making 239 arrests and seizing heroin valued at approximately $300,000 during its time in Harrisburg. More than 100 arrests were made during the Hazleton deployment in conjunction with the seizure of roughly 35,000 packets of heroin.

Attorney General Kane, with the help of the state Legislature, in 2013 launched the Commonwealth’s first ever Mobile Street Crimes Unit to combat drug trafficking and gang-related violence, which plague communities across the state and poses serious threats to public safety.

Individuals who have witnessed a drug deal in their neighborhood or suspect illegal drug activity where they live or work can send an anonymous tip to the Office of Attorney General by texting PADRUGS + YOUR TIP to 847411. Tips can also be submitted electronically here .

Below is a list of the individuals being sought during Operation Northern Tier Takedown:

Christopher Joshua Allen, 23, 839 Marsh Creek, Wellsboro, Tioga County, is charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of criminal conspiracy/possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (heroin).

Anthony F. Allen Jr., 29, 110 Confer Lane, Wellsboro, Tioga County, is charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count each of criminal conspiracy/possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and criminal use of a communication facility (heroin).

Samantha Lynn Arena, 25, 1969 Charleston Road, Wellsboro, Tioga County, is charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of criminal conspiracy/possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (oxycodone and marijuana).

Ryan Vincent Arena, 25, 1969 Charleston Road, Wellsboro, Tioga County, is charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of criminal conspiracy/possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (oxycodone and marijuana).

Christopher Mark Holleran, 35, 2280 Balsam Road, Wellsboro, Tioga County, is charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia for the purpose of planting, growing, cultivating and harvesting a controlled substance, as well as other related summary offenses (marijuana).

Mark A. Hopper, 25, 777 Stony Fork Road, Wellsboro, Tioga County, is charged with three counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count each of delivery of a small amount of marijuana and criminal use of a communication facility (dihydrocodeinone and hydrocodone).

John Francis McConomy IV, 26, 2257 Charleston Road, Wellsboro, Tioga County, is charged with three counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count each of solicitation of minors to traffic drugs and criminal use of a communication facility (cocaine).

Brian Edward O’Donnell, 24, 61 Faust North Road, Bethel, Berks County, is charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and possession of a controlled substance (hashish oil and marijuana).

Michael H. Patterson, 27, Lawrenceville, Tioga County, is charged with one count of delivery of a controlled substance (heroin).

Nathan Randall Phillips, 25, 24 Rods Lane, Covington, Tioga County, is charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance (marijuana).

Joseph T. Tanaiewski, 19, 68 Jackson Center Road, Millerton, Tioga County, is charged with one count each of delivery of a controlled substance and criminal use of a communication facility (heroin).

Stephon Garrett Ahearn, 24, 228 East River St., Elkland, Tioga County, is charged with three counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count each of criminal conspiracy/possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and criminal use of a communication facility (heroin and bath salts).

Trisha Lynn Brimmer, 23, 17887 Route 287, Tioga, Tioga County, is charged with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

David Leroy Button, 44, 10 Mechanic St., Lawrenceville, Tioga County, is charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count each of criminal conspiracy/possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and criminal use of a communication facility (heroin).

Billie Jo Caffo, 48, 1072 Locust St., Sabinsville, Tioga County, is charged with one count each of delivery of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of a communication facility (heroin).

Lacey Dann Christley, 25, 235 Mann Hill Road, Tioga, Tioga County, is charged with three counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of criminal use of a communication facility (heroin and methamphetamine).

McKenna Edith Ann Cook, 19, 209 Second St., Elkland, Tioga County, is charged with one count each of delivery of a controlled substance, theft by deception and criminal use of a communication facility (heroin).

Dakota Richard Cox, 20, 209 Second St., Elkland, Tioga County, is charged with two counts each of delivery of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of a communication facility (heroin).

Miranda Jean Hatch, 20, 135 North Buffalo St., Apt. A., Tioga County, is charged with two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Carmelo Lopez III, 33, 107 West Main St., Westfield, Tioga County, is charged with three counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of criminal use of a communication facility (heroin).

Kiana Renee Magill-Hale, 22, 35 Seneca Lane, Tioga, Tioga County, is charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia (bath salts).

Zena S. Mendoza, 37, 46 Silvan Ave., Meriden, Conn., is charged with one count each of delivery of a controlled substance and criminal use of a communication facility (heroin).

Anthony Clayton Snider, 21, 245 Tremane Road, Lawrenceville, Tioga County, is charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal use of a communication facility (heroin).

Roy P. Wood, 33, 118 A First St., Elkland, Tioga County, is charged with five counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of criminal use of a communication facility (heroin).

Dakota Woodard. 21, 228 East River St., Elkland, Tioga County, is charged with one count each of delivery of a controlled substance and criminal conspiracy/possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (bath salts).

Jacob Cobb, 22, 196 N. Main St., Mansfield, Tioga County, is charged with one count each of delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance (marijuana).

Rhiannon Marie Gray, 20, 196 N. Main St., Mansfield, Tioga County, is charged with one count each of delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance (marijuana).

Kelly Michelle Rinebold, 31, 343 North Williamson Road, Blossburg, Tioga County, is charged with one count each of delivery of a controlled substance and criminal conspiracy/possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (heroin).

Tylor Shawn Rumsey, 21, 343 North Williamson Road, Blossburg, Tioga County, is charged with one count each of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy/possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and criminal use of a communication facility (heroin).

Kelcey Joann Jayne, 27, 348 Upper Mountain Road, Canton, Bradford County, is charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count each of criminal conspiracy/possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and criminal use of a communication facility (heroin).

Jordan Louis Lanzo, 31, 50 North Washington St., Canton, Bradford County, is charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance and one count of criminal use of a communication facility (heroin).

Archie William Vroman, 31, 162 Upper Mountain Road, Canton, Bradford County, is charged with one count each of delivery of a controlled substance and criminal conspiracy/possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (heroin).

Below is a list of other individuals arrested in recent months during the MSCU’s deployment:

Donald Eugene Meck Sr., 28, 35 Seneca Lane, Tioga, Tioga County, was charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance, receiving stolen property and possession of drug paraphernalia (bath salts). Meck has since reached a plea agreement.

Austin Phillip Zimmerman, 20, 5 White Oak Blvd., Mechanicsburg, is charged with delivery of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of a communication facility (marijuana wax).

Bryan David Ray Stone, 35, 105 East Maplewood Ave., Mechanicsburg, was charged with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of a small amount of marijuana, unlawful delivery of drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia (marijuana).

Michael Dalton Lawless, 21, of no known address, is charged with one count each of delivery of a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy and possession of drug paraphernalia (heroin).

(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)

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