AG announces another drug sweep of Tyrone and Altoona dealers

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office announced a drug sweep that led to arrest warrants being served this morning in area communities including Tyrone.
A press release said the drug sweep involved those involved with the delivery and possession of controlled substances in Blair County. A spokesman for the Attorney General’s office told The Daily Herald about 20 of the suspects were from the Tyrone area or were connected to drug dealing in Tyrone.
Law enforcement officers from the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office, the Blair County Drug Task Force, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Clearfield County Drug Task Force, the Centre County Drug Task Force, the Huntingdon County Drug Task Force and the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department began serving arrest warrants at approximately 7:00 a.m.
The suspects were brought to the Frankstown Armory where they where processed. A press release from the attorney general said the suspects were to be arraigned before District Judge Fred Miller and Joseph Moran.
Attorney General Tom Corbett and Blair County District Attorney Dave Gorman announced the arrest of as many as 60 Blair County Drug dealers.
An 11 a.m. press conference was scheduled at the Altoona Police Department to announce the arrests.
According to a press release, Corbett said, “We are here today to send a clear message that drug dealing will not be tolerated in Blair County, or in any Pennsylvania community,” Corbett said. “The streets of Altoona, Tyrone and other local communities belong to the law-abiding citizens of Blair County, not drug dealers, and we will continue with these investigations and these arrests until everyone gets that message.”
Corbett said today’s arrests are the result of a four-month long investigation into the sale of heroin, cocaine and other drugs in the Tyrone and Altoona area.
Agents from the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation (BNI) along with more than 100 local police officers were in the process of apprehending the suspected drug dealers.
According to his prepared remarks, Corbett said today’s arrests involved alleged mid-level and street-level sales of heroin, cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs in Blair County. He said 41 of the suspected drug dealers are from the Altoona area, while the remaining 19 are from Tyrone.
Corbett said during the course of the investigation, undercover agents and task force officers made more than 80 controlled drug purchases from dealers operating primarily in the City of Altoona and the Borough of Tyrone.
Corbett said 31 of the alleged drug dealers are charged with selling heroin, 21 are charged with selling cocaine and two are charged with selling marijuana. Additionally, four people have been charged with selling prescription drugs, including the narcotic painkillers Vicodin, along with morphine and the anti-anxiety drug Valium. Two suspects were charged with selling look-alike drugs.
Corbett said this most recent investigation by BNI agents and the Blair County Drug Task Force focused on street-level drug sales as well as their mid- and upper-level drug suppliers.
The attorney general’s press release said one alleged mid-level crack cocaine dealer, Mark Hiles of Altoona, reportedly bragged to an undercover officer that he was making $5,000 per day selling drugs according to Corbett. Hiles and his father, Milford G. Hiles, also of Altoona, are both charged with multiple counts of delivery of cocaine.
Corbett said this task force investigation has also developed information about potential drug connections outside the Altoona area, and outside Pennsylvania.
Shawn A. Jackson, originally from the Baltimore area, is charged with multiple counts of delivery of heroin. Jackson was allegedly involved in upper-level drug distribution in Altoona.
Corbett said a search of Jackson’s Altoona residence on Nov. 5, 2005 resulted in the seizure of approximately $15,000 worth of heroin and crack cocaine, along with LSD, Ecstasy, marijuana and drug packaging materials. Two handguns were seized from a storage trailer used by Jackson.
Corbett said another of the defendants charged today, William McMillan, originally from the state of Indiana, is an alleged associate of Shawn Jackson and is charged with the sale of crack cocaine to undercover officers.
Corbett added that BNI agents and task force officers continue to investigate a possible New York City connection to heroin trafficking in Altoona and Tyrone.
Last Thursday, two Brooklyn, NY men were arrested in Altoona after allegedly selling crack cocaine to undercover task force officers. A search of their local residence, at 1018 21st St., Altoona, resulted in the seizure of drug manufacturing and packaging materials.
Corbett said documents seized during that search appear to indicate these suspects were involved in an effort to establish a larger drug distribution organization in Altoona, and that they may be affiliated with New York based gangs.
Task force officers in Tyrone arrested five New York City residents on Sept. 29, 2005, resulting in the seizure of 34 grams of heroin, along with crack cocaine and packaging materials.
Corbett said the Blair County Drug Task Force, which receives its funding from the Attorney General\’s Office, was established to conduct street-level drug investigations. He said information gathered from these investigations, including where the drug dealers obtain their drugs, is used to target mid -to upper-level drug dealers by BNI agents and Attorney General drug prosecutors.
Corbett said BNI and Blair County Drug Task Force investigations have resulted in the arrest of more than 200 Blair County drug dealers this year.
In his prepared remarks, Corbett thanked all the law enforcement agencies that participated in the drug sweep.