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Authorities release details on latest bust of area drug dealers

Agents from the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation along with local police arrested or were in the process of arresting 24 drug dealers yesterday that were operating in the Tyrone and Altoona areas.
A press release from the Attorney General’s office said the bust was the result of a four-month investigation that focused on street level and mid-level drug dealers. Sixteen of the suspects are from the Tyrone area.
During the investigation, drug task force officers made more than 30 controlled substance purchases from the dealers. The majority of the purchases involved heroin, although some of the purchases were for cocaine.
The press release said many of the buys happened when a Tyrone defendant either made the sale of drugs to an informant or took an informant to Altoona to buy drugs.
The press release cited the cooperation of the many municipal police departments active in the Blair County Drug Task Force. The Attorney General’s office commended the Tyrone Borough Police Department for what was called “the excellent work they did in their investigation.”
Tips to the Blair County Drug Hotline played a role in the investigation.
At a Thursday press conference, Blair County Deputy Assistant DA Jackie Bernard said, “We want the community to know as long as they’re involved, as long they get the tips out, as long as they stay active in the community, law enforcement does respond.”
Blair County Drug Task Force Coordinator Anthony L. Sassano said “it was noteworthy” that the drug dealers from Tyrone weren’t able to purchase the drugs in town. He said they were going to Altoona to make their purchases.
“We still have a long way to go both in Tyrone and Altoona particularly with heroin,” said Sassano.
Tyrone Police Chief Joseph Beachem told The Daily Herald, “I don’t want people to think it isn’t here, it’s still here. We have a long fight ahead of us. It was a little bit encouraging at least in this investigation that the heroin wasn’t as readily available (in Tyrone); they had to travel elsewhere to bring it in instead of setting up shop here.”
He said it was encouraging that in the latest bust “there weren’t any big bases of operations for dealers here in Tyrone.”
Beachem said, “Our efforts are starting to pay off, and if we keep the pressure on, we are hopefully going to be able to drive it out of here.”
Sassano noted, “The drug users are still here, but the drug dealers didn’t seem to be here over the last several months.”
He said some of the users are still selling it in the Tyrone area. He said they do so in order to support their own habit. During the press conference, Sassano also noted one of the suspects was originally from the Philadelphia area and had moved to Blair County some months ago.
Chief Deputy DA Bernard mentioned a proactive measure her office is using in the fight against drugs.
“The Blair County District Attorney’s office has three houses including one in Tyrone that are being seized,” said Bernard. “DA (Richard) Consiglio has made it one of his projects to step up the forfeiture (of property).
“One way that we do that is to look for drug dealers that have property and are using their property to deal their drugs or are buying property from the proceeds from the drug profits,” said Bernard.
She said property is also seized in the form of cash and vehicles in some cases.
The following is a list of Tyrone area suspects that were arrested. The list includes charges against them and other details where available:
• Sally L. Campbell, 1465 Blair Ave.- one count drug paraphernalia (needle), $2,500 straight bail;
• Brian A. Walter, 1374 Washington Ave., Apt. 13- two counts each for delivery, possession and criminal conspiracy (heroin), $14,500 straight bail total for the cases against him;
• Timothy S. Waite, Jr., RD4, Box 218- one count each delivery and criminal conspiracy (heroin), $5,000 straight bail;
• Joshua Daniels, 1226 Hamilton Ave.- one count each delivery and possession (heroin), $6,000 straight bail;
• Gretchen Illig, 961 S. Lincoln Ave., Apt. 5- one count each criminal conspiracy, theft and receiving stolen property (heroin), $7,500, 10 percent bail;
• Mary C. Weakland, RR4, Box 103- one count criminal conspiracy (heroin), $2,500 straight bail;
• Katrina Love, Rhoades Trailer Court- one count each delivery (crack cocaine) and endangering the welfare of children. Love’s bail was set at $50,000 straight. Magisterial District Judge Fred Miller said Love had an outstanding warrant against her from the Philadelphia area on a felony aggravated assault charge;
• William Snyder, 402 Washington Ave.- two counts each delivery and possession (heroin), $8,000 straight bail and
• Christie Anders, 966 Pennsylvania Ave. Apt. 3- one count criminal attempt and two counts forgery (vicodin), $2,500 straight bail.
Judge Miller said the above suspects were all lodged at Blair Count Prison after their arraignments. Preliminary hearings are scheduled for May 8 at 9 a.m.
The following is a list of subjects that had warrants issued against them:
• Steven Carroll, Jr., 1465 Blair Ave.- one count each delivery and possession (heroin);
• Christina Moore, 419 Garfield St.- three counts criminal conspiracy, two counts delivery and one count possession (heroin);
• Travis Hammond, 5230 Dungarvin Road, Warriors Mark- two counts each delivery and possession, one count criminal conspiracy (heroin);
• Miranda Shaw, RD3, Box 103- one count criminal use/communication facility, one count each for delivery and possession (heroin);
• William Poullos, Jr., RD 1 Box 490- two counts each delivery and criminal conspiracy, one count each possession and criminal use/communication facility (heroin);
• Danielle Champeno, 935 Teaberry St.- one count each possession, delivery, criminal use/communication facility (heroin) and
• Brandon Williams, 2235 Morrisey Lane- one count possession, delivery and criminal conspiracy (heroin).