Heroin, Cash Seized, 3 People Arrested In Drug Investigations

HAZLETON, PA — Three people face drug charges and cash and drugs were seized in two separate investigations Thursday, police said.

In one of the cases, a woman trying to flee police struck an undercover vehicle, police said.

Police identified the woman as Passion Tairi Flores, 24, of West Birch Street.

According to police: A controlled drug buy with Flores was arranged near the intersection of North Locust and Third streets at approximately 5 p.m. As officers closed in on Flores, she accelerated her vehicle and tried to get away, striking an undercover vehicle and preventing her escape. Flores and her passenger, Anthony Morales Jr. 22 of Brooklyn, New York were arrested. Approximately $900 in cash and 220 packets of heroin were seized from her vehicle.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news-news/152497462/

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Among Most Indulgent Cities

Perhaps the Wilkes-Barre metro area parties too much.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area ranked as the fourth-most indulgent metro in the United States by the personal finance website badcredit.org. The website used data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and credit information from Experian, a credit reporting bureau, to analyze how indulgent residents are in 105 metro areas.

They looked at the obesity rate, alcohol consumption, number of smokers and the average consumer debt to determine the most indulgent metros. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro came in at No. 4

with:

■ 7.8 percent of residents claiming to be heavy drinkers.

■  21.5 percent who say they smoke everyday.

■ An obesity rate of 31.9 percent.

■  $28,974 in average consumer debt.

Read more:

http://citizensvoice.com/news/scranton-w-b-among-most-indulgent-cities-1.1849010

Special Report: What Is Being Done To Combat Crime In Pottstown?

Pottstown, PA – Ask law enforcement dealing with violent crime in Pottstown about the biggest obstacle to catching criminals and they are likely to say it’s silence.

Or, more specifically, silence when police ask witnesses to provide information about a crime.

Repeatedly in recent months, as police have been grappling with a wave of violence, Pottstown Police Chief Rick Drumheller has pleaded with people to come forward and say what they know.

“It’s time to pick a side,” Drumheller said during a Dec. 3, 2014 council meeting.

Read more:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150310/special-report-what-is-being-done-to-combat-crime-in-pottstown

Special Project: Is Pottstown More Dangerous Than Other Towns?

Editor’s note:  A continuation of Evan Brandt’s series about crime in Pottstown.  Well worth the read.  The blogging community has been trying to get this problem addressed for a while now and it’s great that the mainstream media and Montco officials are getting on the bandwagon to clean up Pottstown.  We feel Pottstown has great potential but it can’t be realized until crime is brought under control.  When criminals learn that Pottstown isn’t open for business anymore, redevelopment can really take hold.

How many times have you heard it in the past year?

“Pottstown is turning into another Reading.”

It’s the kind of comparison not meant to reflect well on the Berks County seat, labeled in 2011 as the nation’s poorest city.

But comparisons are a way to put things in context.

Read more:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150309/special-project-is-pottstown-more-dangerous-than-other-towns

Special Project: Is Pottstown Becoming More Dangerous?

Editor’s note:  Nice job, Evan.  Make sure you read the whole article because this is a good news, bad news piece.  Crime is still a problem in Pottstown.

POTTSTOWN, PA – Crime is not up in Pottstown, at least not according to the numbers.

Crime in the borough last year was, in nearly all categories, below the borough’s 10-year average, according to a Mercury analysis of crime statistics provided by the Pottstown Police Department.

The numbers of serious crimes like murder, rape and arson have remained relatively flat since 2005, and in addition, the statistics show that 2014 saw 13 percent fewer major crimes and a decrease of more than 16 percent in all reportable crimes.

Pottstown has not had more than two murders per year since 2007.

Read more:

http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150308/special-project-is-pottstown-becoming-more-dangerous

32 Arrested, Including 4 Alleged Drug Pushers, In Norristown Drug Operation

NORRISTOWN, PA – Two phone calls months apart from each other allowed investigators to link together two drug rings that delivered crystal meth and heroin to the streets of Norristown and other parts in southeastern Pennsylvania.

District Attorney Risa Ferman announced Wednesday the arrest of 32 people, including four major alleged drug pushers, in Norristown in a joint operation appropriately dubbed “Operation Snow and Ice Removal.”

“This is a series of drug trafficking arrests that have been made in two overlapping drug trafficking rings that relate to the sale of crystal meth, heroin and cocaine, primarily in Norristown but with tentacles in southeast Pennsylvania,” Ferman said at a press conference.

Read more:

http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20150225/32-arrested-including-4-alleged-drug-pushers-in-norristown-drug-operation

Police Probe Pottstown Shooting, Victim Flown To Lehigh Hospital

Editor’s note:  Unfortunately, I was almost right in the middle of this tonight.  Getting a little too close for comfort.  I think the Attorney General’s Mobile Task Force is sorely needed.  Much of the crime in Pottstown is drug related.  It’s time to get serious and ferret out these criminals.  This needs to be the first order of business, not tourism. People are not going to flock to Pottstown if it is NOT SAFE! You are putting the cart before the horse.

POTTSTOWN – A shooting that took place in the area of a downtown alley Wednesday evening resulted in at least one victim being taken by car to the hospital and then flown by helicopter to Lehigh Valley Hospital for further treatment.

The patient’s condition and name were unavailable at press time.

Personnel at Pottstown Memorial Medical Center refused to provide any information or even confirm a shooting victim was or had been in the hospital.

However, The Mercury learned from another source that a patient flown from the hospital’s helicopter pad was the shooting victim.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20150211/police-probe-pottstown-shooting-victim-flown-to-lehigh-hospital

Two Nabbed In Wilkes-Barre Drug Raid; Home Shut Down

Two men face multiple drug charges following a raid at a Wilkes-Barre home on Thursday.

Wilkes-Barre police and state police executed a search warrant at 284 N. Washington St. at about 12:30 p.m. Thursday, police said in a news release.

Police said they found “distribution quantities” of cocaine, heroin and marijuana in the home and arrested Louis Soto, 25, and Brian Lulewicz, 30. The men were taken into custody without incident, police said. An investigation by city and state police revealed that the two men were selling large quantities of heroin and cocaine from the residence and were armed, according to police.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/two-nabbed-in-w-b-drug-raid-home-shut-down-1.1822054

Drugs, Gun Seized In Wilkes-Barre Raid

The Wilkes-Barre Police Anti Crime Unit and the Wilkes-Barre Drug Task force raided a residence on Blackman Street on a drug warrant early Wednesday morning.

The raid was a result of an ongoing investigation targeting drug trafficking in the Rolling Mill Hill section of the city and its surrounding areas, police said.

The investigation revealed Julio “Cesar” Fortuna, 21, was dealing large quantities of high-grade marijuana from his residence and the surrounding streets, police said. Authorities raided 431 Blackman St. around 6 a.m. Wednesday and took Fortuna into custody without incident, police said.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/drugs-gun-seized-in-wilkes-barre-raid-1.1813789

Man Stopped On I-80 Found With 150 Bags Of Heroin In Rectum

An Altoona man had 150 bags of heroin stashed in his rectum and had to have the drugs removed at a hospital, according to state police at Hazleton.

Dennis L. Vanriper was a passenger in a vehicle that troopers stopped for several traffic violations on Interstate 80 west in Nescopeck Township at about 3 a.m. Friday, police said.

Read more: http://standardspeaker.com/news/man-stopped-on-i-80-found-with-150-bags-of-heroin-in-rectum-1.1806894

16 Arrested – Mostly For Drugs – In Northwest Lancaster County Sweep

Sixteen people were arrested Wednesday in a sweep of northwest Lancaster County by a host of law enforcement agencies.

The arrests were the result of a year-long undercover operation, according to Elizabethtown Borough police.

Here’s who was arrested and their charges:

•Jeffrey Myers, 37, of Elizabethtown, charged with one felony count of delivery of a controlled substance by. Myers was arraigned before District Judge Jayne Duncan and was released on $50,000 unsecured bail.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/arrested—mostly-for-drugs—in-northwest/article_f3320066-8193-11e4-8184-9b9b354b3a04.html

Blair County’s Operation Our Town Funds Law Enforcement And Rehab Efforts

In 2006, Michael A. Fiore was talking with a police officer about a shooting — the kind that never happened in Altoona before big-city drug dealers came to town.

The officer said his department didn’t even have bulletproof vests to wear on raids, Mr. Fiore recounted Tuesday. “I said, ‘Go out and get eight of them, and send me the bill.’”

Over the course of a year, that act of generosity morphed into the creation of Operation Our Town, in which Blair County business leaders pledge $10,000 each year to fight drugs.

Last year the organization backed Altoona’s schools, after school programs, youth sports groups, mentoring for first-time mothers and construction of a playground, among other efforts.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/state/2014/12/01/Blair-County-s-Operation-Our-Town-funds-law-enforcement-and-rehab-efforts/stories/201411300093

All Hell Breaks Loose In Pottstown Over The Weekend….Again

Pottstown Borough Hall

Pottstown Borough Hall

Apparently, the inmates are running the asylum in good old Pottstown.  Several shootings, one fatal stabbing and a gas leak happened over the weekend. Sounds like your tax dollars are hard at work. Apparently, council is adding $6 million to the budget bringing it to $44 million.  Frankly, that should include a dozen more police officers and somebody should be reaching out to county and state officials for help.  This mess needs cleaned up once and for all.  It’s the same crap, in the same part(s) of town, over and over again.  We all know it’s drug related, gang related or a turf war etc…  Hey, Ma, “Pass the Section 8 housing please.  I want a heapin’ helpin’ so I can smother it in drugs.”  Happy Thanksgiving, Pottstown style.  Who needs mashed potatoes and gravy ;).  We sure know who the turkey is!

If you check out the Mercury, you can read all about it: http://www.pottsmerc.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/pottstown.mercury.

I can tell you people are scared.  They are afraid to take out their trash at night, drive through town at night etc…  The comments on Facebook by residents are upsetting to read.  You can feel the anger, fear, frustration and almost panic in their comments.  Some think it’s hopeless.

So I say to you, pack the council chambers for meetings and express your outrage to the people who hold the purse strings and can actually do something about it.  Pressure them to clean up Pottstown. They will cave in and do something if enough people complain.  But if the same 20 people show up at meetings every month they pass all this off as a few malcontents and naysayers causing problems. They are more interested in speed traps and tourism than public safety.

There is a bigger problem here than the leadership is willing to admit.  The “keep a lid on the powder keg” strategy has been an #epicfail and proactive policing needs to happen.  Stop putting lipstick on a pig and start throwing money at a huge public safety issue!  People are dying, isn’t that enough motivation?????

Hazleton PA and Pottstown PA By The Numbers

Reading the City of Hazleton’s 2015 Proposed Budget got me thinking about spending and waste.  These two towns are a good comparison because of population, ethnic diversity, demographics and even physical size.  Pottstown’s budget is more than 4 times are large as Hazleton’s, so here are some numbers to ponder courtesy of http://www.CityData.com:

 

Population:

Hazleton (2012) 25,224

Pottstown (2012) 22,480

 

Races:

Hazleton –

  • White alone – 14,580 (57.9%)
  • Hispanic – 9,717 (38.6%)
  • Black alone – 422 (1.7%)

Pottstown –

  • White alone – 15,377 (68.7%)
  • Black alone – 4,147 (18.5%)
  • Hispanic – 1,785 (8.0%)

 

Physical size (land area):

Hazleton is 5.97 square miles

Pottstown is 4.83 square miles

 

Crime rate – U.S. average = 296.6:

Hazleton (2012) 306.3

Pottstown (2012) 434

 

Police Department size:

Hazleton – 38 officers, hiring 10 new police officers built in the $9.3 million proposed budget (they think they have a crime problem).

Pottstown -46 officers, (they don’t think they have a crime problem)

 

Unemployment:

Hazleton – July 2013, 12.8%

Pottstown – July 2013, 6.7%

 

Population density:

Hazleton – 4,222 people per square mile

Pottstown – 4,655 people per square mile

 

Municipal Budget:

Hazleton – $9.3 million (2015 Proposed budget)

Pottstown – $44.8 million (2015 Proposed budget)

 

Cost of living index:

Hazleton – 95.3 (near average, U.S. average is 100)

Pottstown – 103.7 (near average, U.S. average is 100)

 

Average home value:

Hazleton – $93,389 (2012)

Pottstown – $134,796 (2012)

 

Average rent:

Hazleton – Median gross rent in 2012: $631

Pottstown – Median gross rent in 2012: $762

 

Estimated median household income:

Hazleton – $30,492 (2012)

Pottstown – $41,864 (2012)

 

Registered sex offenders:

Hazleton – there were 10 registered sex offenders living in Hazleton, Pennsylvania as of November 10, 2014

Pottstown – there were 49 registered sex offenders living in Pottstown, Pennsylvania as of November 10, 2014

Police: Twice-Convicted York City Drug Dealer Caught With $24K In Heroin

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A twice convicted York City drug dealer is back in prison after York City narcotics officers raided his home Thursday and seized nearly $24,000 worth of raw heroin, according to police.

“That’s a significant amount,” city Detective First Class Andrew Shaffer said.

Plus, that heroin likely would have been “stepped on,” or cut, he said, which could as much as double its value. The $23,900 worth of heroin was all “raw,” or loose, meaning it still needed to be bagged, Shaffer said.

“Five years ago, we just didn’t see raw heroin like that,” he said. “And we see it constantly now.”

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_26906554/police-twice-convicted-york-city-drug-dealer-caught

Authorities: Heroin Problem In Region Will Only Get Worse

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Heroin is affecting the region at epidemic levels and the problem is only expected to get worse, law enforcement officials told the Pennsylvania Economy League at a meeting Friday afternoon.

The drug is selling on the cheap, and addicts — many of whom got started by legitimately using prescription painkillers — are bringing a plague of crime to the area, West Hazleton Police Chief Brian Buglio said. Almost all robberies, thefts and assaults in the Hazleton area have a drug or gang nexus, he said.

“Heroin is terrifying, and it’s only going to get worse, unfortunately,” Buglio said during the meeting at Best Western Genetti Hotel and Conference Center.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/authorities-heroin-problem-in-region-will-only-get-worse-1.1784687

Police: Man Found Unresponsive In Cab Had Over $100,000 In Heroin

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HAZLE TOWNSHIP, PA — An unresponsive man in the back of a taxi cab awoke to a slew of charges after police say they found over $100,000 of heroin in his possession on Sunday morning.

According to police reports:

State police responded to assist EMS personnel at the Ramada Inn on North Church Street at 8:20 a.m. for a report of an unresponsive male in a taxi cab. When the 24-year-old man from Scranton was awoken by officers, he was found to allegedly be in possession of 3 ounces of raw heroin, a street value of approximately $5,000. The man was also found to allegedly have 10,280 glassine bags of heroine, with a street value of over $100,000.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/50578018/

Police: Meth Lab Exploded In Nanticoke

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An explosion caused by residents cooking methamphetamine shook a Nanticoke apartment complex on Saturday, police said.

At approximately 8 p.m., the Nanticoke police and fire departments responded to a call at an apartment building on Lee Mine Street, where they discovered at least six apartments affected by the explosion.

The blast was so forceful that two doors within the apartment were blown off the hinges, police said.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/police-meth-lab-exploded-in-nanticoke-1.1777749

Wilkes-Barre’s Sherman Hills Complex Now Prefers Locals

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — The welcome mat is still out for out-of-state residents at Sherman Hills, but under a program instituted by the new owner, locals are given preference to move into the federally-subsidized apartment complex.

The preference also applies if a member of the household waiting to get one of the 344-units has a job.

John VanMetre, director of property management for The Aspen Companies, an affiliate of Teaneck, New Jersey-based Treetop Development, owner of the complex, explained the change in light of a recent report that Sherman Hills had advertised for tenants in the New York City area.

VanMetre said that with the change in ownership, any ads are done locally.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/50555847/Sherman-Hills-puts-focus-on-locals

Demands To ‘Stop the Violence’ Dominate Wilkes-Barre City Council Meeting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA — Desperate for answers in the shooting death of one son, Yvonne George pleaded to be heard in order to save her other child.

Her brief statement capped the raucous and at times unruly city council meeting Thursday night filled with other members of the black community fed up with violence in the city and demanding something be done to end it.

A photo of her son David George was on the collage of black-and-white photos above the words “Stop The Violence” on posters held up in the audience. The 24-year-old man was shot and killed July 18, 2013, on South Welles Street, the seventh of the city’s 13 homicide victims that year.

“I feel that the Wilkes-Barre police every time something happens with a black person down here, the first thing they say is is it’s drug related and it’s gang related,” the deceased man’s mother said. “My son was not in no gang.”

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/news/50464272/