Local/State

Dozens arrested, heroin seized in major Pa. drug bust

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dozens of people were arrested and more than 9,000 packets of drugs were seized in a major heroin sweep in Hazleton, Pa.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General's office announced the arrests on Wednesday as part of "Operation Rising Star."

Authorities say the Mobile Street Crimes Unit was brought in back in September to assist the Hazelton City Police Department with the rise in violent, drug-related crimes.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane says Hazleton had become a breeding ground for the distribution of heroin.

In five months' time, "Operation Rising Star," in conjunction with 16 local, state and federal agencies, identified numerous drug trafficking organizations. They say more than 100 people have been arrested and 9,060 packets of heroin seized.

"Hazleton is a safer place than it was five months ago. I promise the law-abiding citizens here that our investigative resources will be available to local law enforcement long after we leave," said Attorney General Kane.

Below is a list of the "Operation Rising Star" defendants arrested over the last three days:

-Henry Abreu, 36, of Sugarloaf, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of delivery of marijuana one count of conspiracy to deliver marijuana and one count of criminal use of a communication facility. --Julio Acosta Vargas, 33, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with two counts of delivery of crack cocaine/heroin, two counts of possession with the intent to deliver crack cocaine/heroin and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Candace Alexander, age unknown, of Gordon, Schuylkill County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin.

--Harry Bellitts, 44, of Tresckow, Carbon County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin and one count of criminal conspiracy to possess heroin.

--Shalyn Blankenship, 30, of Columbia County, is charged with one count of possession with the intent to deliver heroin and one count of possession of heroin.

--Johnny Boynton, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to deliver heroin, one count of delivery of molly, three counts of criminal use of a communication facility and two counts of conspiracy to possession with the intent to deliver heroin.

-Juanita Boynton, 37, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with two counts of conspiracy possession with the intent to deliver heroin and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--John Callaghan, 55, of Nicholson, Wyoming County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin and one count of conspiracy to possess heroin.

--Rafael Colon, 42, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of possession of synthetic marijuana.

--Dennis Cooper, 55, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to deliver heroin, three counts of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver heroin and three counts of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Pedro Crespo, 19, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with three counts of delivery of heroin, three counts of possession of heroin and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Victor De Los Santos, 23, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of possession with the intent to deliver heroin, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver heroin and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Tracey Decker, 43, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin and one count of possession of cocaine.

--Gerardo Diaz-Perez, 34, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of delivery of heroin, one count of possession with the intent to deliver heroin and one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver heroin.

--James Drob, 51, of McAdoo, Schuylkill County, is charged with one count of delivery of heroin, one count of conspiracy to deliver heroin and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Robert Dufallo Jr., of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with two counts of making false statements on a gun application.

--Crystal Fehnel, 26, of Weatherly, Carbon County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin.

--John Felice Jr., 45, of Freeland, Luzerne County, is charged with three counts of delivery of heroin, two counts of delivery of Xanax and two counts of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Angelo Fiola, 51, of Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County, is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to deliver heroin, one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of possession with the intent to deliver heroin.

--Nathan Fritz, 25, of Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin and one count of possession of paraphernalia.

--Matthew Genery, 25, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of possession with the intent to deliver marijuana and one count of possession of marijuana.

--Sheila Gimbi, 28, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin.

--Felipe Gonzalez, 35, of Drifton, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of possession of synthetic marijuana.

--Erin Gaultier, 52, of Freeland, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin and one count of possession with the intent to use drug paraphernalia.

--Yovanne Gutierrez, 22, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of delivery of heroin and one count of conspiracy to deliver heroin.

--Dennis Hall, 36, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of delivery of heroin, one count of possession of heroin, one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Justin Hill, 22, of Lansford, Carbon County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin and one count of possession with the intent to use drug paraphernalia.

--Sara Hittinger, 33, of Tresckow, Carbon County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin and one count of criminal conspiracy to possess heroin.

--Debra Horvath, 55, of Mahanoy Plane, Schuylkill County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin.

--Alyssa Kalnas, 20, of Hazleton Apartments #814, Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with two counts of possession with the intent to deliver heroin and two counts of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Adam Kasten, 21, of New Philadelphia, Schuylkill County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin and one count of possession with the intent to use drug paraphernalia.

--Jennifer Marchetti, of Drums, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin.

--Chatelle Medashekski, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with five counts of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of possession with the intent to deliver heroin and one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver heroin.

--Joshua Minaker, 28, of Freeland, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of possession with the intent to use drug paraphernalia.

--Duamel Munoz Rodriguez, 36, 562 Seybert St., Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of conspiracy to deliver heroin and one count of conspiracy to possess heroin.

--Robert Nemeth, 35, of Sugarloaf, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin.

--Pablo Padilla, 25, of West Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with two counts of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of possession with the intent to deliver crack and one count of possession with the intent to deliver crack cocaine.

--Douglas Patton, 43, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, one count of delivery of heroin and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Jonathan Peguero, 28, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to deliver synthetic marijuana, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver and one count of possession of synthetic marijuana. On a separate complaint two counts of delivery of heroin, one count of possession of heroin.

--Richard Pizzo, 30, of Barnesville, Schuylkill County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin.

--William Rivera Jr., 45, of Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of delivery of heroin, one count of conspiracy to delivery heroin and one count of possession of heroin.

--Juan Santiago, age unknown, address unknown, is charged with five counts of delivery of heroin/cocaine, two counts of criminal use of a communication facility and two counts of conspiracy to deliver heroin/cocaine.

--Tommy Stephenson II, 32, of Scranton, Lackawanna County, is charged with one count of possession of heroin and one count of conspiracy to possess heroin.

--Eric Stradford, 37, of West Hazleton, Luzerne County, is charged with one count of delivery of heroin, one count of possession with the intent to deliver heroin and one count of possession of heroin.

--Christopher Velasquez, 25, address unknown, is charged with two counts of delivery of crack cocaine and two counts of possession with the intent to deliver crack cocaine.

--Miranda Welsh, 36, of Lock Haven, Clinton County, is charged with one count of delivery of heroin and one count of conspiracy to possession with the intent to deliver heroin.

Note: A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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