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Press Release

  • 35 Heroin, Opioids Dealers Arrested in Blair County Roundup

    9/21/2017

    HARRISBURG – Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced criminal charges against 35 people accused of selling heroin, illegal prescription opioids, cocaine and other drugs in Blair County – the 5th major drug sweep in the county in his eight months in office.

    “Thanks to strong collaboration, our agents and local and state law enforcement today charged 35 drug dealers with peddled their poison in Altoona and Blair County,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “This is the 5th major drug operation we’ve conducted in Blair County since I was sworn into office in January. We’re here and we’re not going away. We hear the people of Blair County – and we’re going to do whatever it takes to arrest anyone selling drugs and fueling an epidemic that is ravaging Pennsylvania.”

    Today’s charges are the result of a year-long cooperative investigation between the Office of Attorney General, Altoona Police, Blair County Drug Task Force, Blair County Sheriff’s Department, Blair County District Attorney’s Office, Pennsylvania State Police and Pennsylvania Probation and Parole.  

    Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio said: "We will continue to collaborate with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office to aggressively investigate and prosecute drug dealers in Blair County.” DA Consiglio and Attorney General Shapiro also thanked Operation Our Town, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting drug dealing in Blair County, for their support.

    Since January, Attorney General Shapiro has emphasized a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach to fighting the opioids epidemic in Pennsylvania. In 8 months, Shapiro’s office has:

    • Arrested on average 3 drug dealers a day across Pennsylvania
    • Doubled the number of diversion arrests of doctors, nurses and medical personnel for illegally diverting prescription drugs from their intended use
    • Led a growing, national, bipartisan investigation by 41 Attorneys General of 9 manufacturing and distribution companies of opioid prescription drugs
    • Formed a partnership with the Pennsylvania Medical Society to educate the medical community to improve prescription practices around opioids
    • Pushed insurance companies to improve practices with a 10-point plan to reduce prescriptions, increase addiction treatment, and increase alternatives to opioids

    The drug dealers charged today were selling heroin, opioids, cocaine and other drugs. Several of the dealers charged were also selling suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction. The defendants will be preliminarily arraigned before Blair County Magisterial District Judge Fred Miller and prosecuted by the Blair County District Attorney Office.

    These defendants were charged with possession with intent to deliver drugs and related offenses:

    • Ashley Baker-Jones, 25, of Evergreen Court, Altoona
    • Michelle Barr, 37, of 207 Pennway Avenue, Altoona
    • Dione Boynton, 36, of 14th Street, Altoona
    • Alisha Burns, 23, of 4th Avenue, Altoona
    • Keith Christian, 43, of E. Allegheny Avenue, Philadelphia
    • Danielle Copenhaver, 30, of Pine Avenue, Altoona
    • Barry Criste, 36, of W. Chestnut Avenue, Altoona
    • Jacob Ewing, 34, of Logan Village Drive, Tyrone
    • Tobias Finochio, 39, of Beaumont Drive, Altoona
    • Mary Helsel, 32, of Allen Lane, Duncansville
    • John Klotz, 26, of 14th Avenue, Altoona
    • Kenneth Lechner, 47, of E. 2nd Street, Altoona
    • Rebecca Levinson, 33, of Cranberry Street, Tyrone
    • Tre Madden, 22, of 2nd Avenue, Altoona
    • Jessie Mayes, 33, of 2nd Street, Saint Michael
    • Christopher Mazur, 23, of 6th Avenue, Altoona
    • Nicole McGarvey, 38, of Meade Street, Tyrone
    • Lola Meyers, 33, of Evergreen Court, Altoona
    • Jeremy Orebaugh, 33, of 22nd Avenue, Altoona
    • Hillary Ott, 24, of 14th Avenue, Altoona
    • Robert Payne, 28, of 4th Avenue, Altoona
    • Andrew Robinson, 36, of Linden Avenue, Johnstown
    • Jesse Rodriguez, 21, of 1st Avenue, Altoona
    • Brandi Rupert, 26, of 6th Avenue, Altoona
    • Nathan Sanders, 36, of Eagle Lane, Altoona
    • Loretta Shepard, 54, of Bell Avenue, Altoona
    • Harry Smeltzer, 25, of 6th Avenue, Altoona
    • Nickolas Stitt, 36, of E. Walton Avenue, Altoona
    • Blake Sutton, 20, of N. 4th Avenue, Altoona
    • Jessica Turiano, 36, of Pine Avenue, Altoona
    • Nicholas Weidlich, 34, of 21st Avenue, Altoona
    • Heidi Williams, 40, of Blair Avenue, Tyrone
    • Deborah Wilson, 36, of Igou Road, Tyrone
    • Edwin Wilson, 32, of 6th Avenue, Altoona
    • David Wright, 35, of Chauncey Street, Brooklyn, NY

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