November 21, 2013


Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane: Clearfield County sweep underscores need for statewide prescription drug monitoring system

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane and Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. today announced the arrest of 13 drug dealers - one of whom was charged with 48 counts of identity theft to obtain prescriptions to resell pills - underscoring the need for a statewide prescription drug monitoring system.

11-22-13_Opr_Gobble_Up

Attorney General Kane said today's arrests are the result of a three-month investigation, "Operation Gobble Up," into the dealings of marijuana, synthetic marijuana, cocaine and heroin, and prescription drugs including Alprazolam, Subutex, hydrocodone and Klonopin.

Over the course of the investigation, agents from the Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation used confidential informants to make a series of controlled buys throughout Clearfield County.

Fresh off of her testimony today before the House Judiciary Committee regarding the heroin epidemic in Pennsylvania, Attorney General Kane noted that today's arrests support the Office of Attorney General's intelligence about the correlation between prescription drug abuse and the statewide increase in heroin use.
 
"Today's arrests are a prime example of the explosion we are seeing in the diversion of pharmaceutical drugs for illicit sale and abuse," said Attorney General Kane. "Prescription drug abuse is a gateway into other, more dangerous narcotics like heroin, and we are doing everything we can to arrest dealers and traffickers that perpetuate this deadly trend." 
 
She noted in many cases, prescription drug dependency becomes prohibitively expensive to maintain so the abuser ultimately turns to heroin as a cheaper, more available - but deadlier - alternative. Data shows individuals who reported using prescription pills recreationally are 19 times more likely to begin using heroin.

During today's hearing Attorney General Kane reiterated her support for the implementation of a prescription monitoring program in the Commonwealth because it would serve as an additional tool to enable health practitioners and law enforcement to determine the types of prescriptions an individual under investigation is potentially abusing, which doctors and pharmacies they are "shopping," and how often the prescriptions are obtained. Pennsylvania, unlike many other states, does not have any means to track Schedule III, IV and V controlled substances.

All but one of the defendants are being held in the Clearfield County Jail. The defendants will be prosecuted by District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr.'s office.

Attorney General Kane thanked the Clearfield County District Attorney's Office, the Clearfield County Drug Task Force, the Clearfield County Sheriff's Department, the Pennsylvania State Police, the DuBois City Police Department, the Clearfield Borough Police Department, the Lawrence Township Police Department, the Curwensville Borough Police Department, the Decatur Township Police Department, and the Morris-Cooper Regional Police Department for their assistance with the investigation.

A complete list of the defendants and the charges against them is below:

-- Aszure Luzier, 36, address unknown, is charged with 48 counts of identity theft, 38 counts of possession of Subutex, 16 counts of forgery, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count of defiant trespass.  Luzier allegedly stole identities and forged documents to obtain prescriptions for Subutex.

-- Krista Wilkinson, 25, currently incarcerated in the Clearfield County Jail, is charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance. Wilkinson allegedly smuggled into the Clearfield County Jail several Subutex and Klonopin pills.

-- Connie Nivotney, 433 Pine St., Curwensville, is charged with one count of possession with intent to deliver marijuana and one count of possession of marijuana. Nivotney's arrest followed complaints of the defendant allegedly selling marijuana to Curwensville School District students.

-- Brandon Timko, 26, 100 4th Ave., Apt. 603, Curwensville, is charged with one count of conspiracy to deliver heroin, one count of possession with intent to deliver heroin, one count of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, one count delivery of heroin, one count delivery of cocaine, one count of possession of heroin, one count of possession of cocaine and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

-- Taylor Chantel Johns, 22, currently incarcerated in the Clinton County Jail, is charged with one count of possession with the intent to deliver Alprazolam and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

-- Mark James Hackett, 26, 215 Post Office Road, Mineral Springs, is charged with one count of conspiracy to deliver Subutex, two counts of possession with intent to deliver Subutex and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

-- Ashley Marie Kirk, 25, 212 East Cherry St., Apt. 4, Clearfield, is charged with one count of conspiracy to deliver Subutex.

-- Lacey Levesque, 23, 100 4th Ave., Apt. 603, Curwensville, is charged with one count of conspiracy to deliver heroin and one count of possession of heroin.

-- Justin Christopher Wisor, 20, 2398 Hog Back Hill Road, Mineral Spring, is charged with one count of possession with intent to deliver marijuana, one count of possession of marijuana and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

-- James Burnside, 49, 14 N. Church St., Dubois, is charged with one count of possession with intent to deliver hydrocodone, one count delivery of hydrocodone and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

-- Crystal Wise, 311 Leavey Ave., Clearfield, is charged with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

-- David Carrier, 46, address unknown, is charged with one count of possession of marijuana and one count possession of drug paraphernalia.

-- Matthew Smith, 29, currently incarcerated in the Clearfield County Prison, is charged with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.


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

# # #