Attorney General Josh Shapiro announces charges against 17 drug dealers in Blair County

April 20, 2018 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced charges against 17 Blair County drug dealers as part of a raid conducted by the Office of Attorney General and the Blair County Drug Task Force. This is the seventh major drug sweep in Blair County since Attorney General Shapiro took office 15 months ago.

“My Office has arrested more than 200 drug dealers through these sweeps in the Altoona region since I was sworn in as Attorney General,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “After the first sweep, I promised to remain vigilant and keep coming back to arrest anyone peddling this poison in Altoona and Blair Counties – and we’ve kept that commitment. We’ll continue working with our law enforcement partners to keep this region safe and get these drugs out of our communities.”

The charges in these drug cases are a result of a year-long investigation by the Office of Attorney General, Blair County Sheriff’s Department, Blair County District Attorney’s Office, the Altoona Police, the Blair County Drug Task Force, Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania State Parole and the organization Operation Our Town.

“Drugs continue to be a major issue in Blair County,” said Blair County First Assistant Pete Weeks. “The District Attorney’s Office along with the Pa. Attorney General and the Blair County Drug Task Force will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those individuals who deal drugs in our County.”

These defendants charged today were selling heroin, opioids, cocaine and other drugs. The investigations involved the sale of heroin and the illegal street sale of prescription medication, like oxycodone and suboxone. Suboxone is used to treat opioid addiction and prevent painful withdraw symptoms in drug-addicted persons.

In the past year, Attorney General Shapiro has emphasized a multi-pronged approach to fighting the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania. Since taking office, Shapiro’s office has:

  • Arrested on average nearly 5 drug dealers a day.
  • Increased arrests of doctors and other medical personnel for illegal diversions of prescription drugs by 72 percent.
  • Destroyed more than 56 tons of drugs.
  • Distributed 300,000 drug disposal pouches in 17 counties in Pennsylvania.
  • Worked with the insurance industry to expand access to drug treatment.
  • Helped lead an ongoing national investigation by 41 Attorneys General of the pharmaceutical industry for their role in fueling the opioid crisis in our country.

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

  • Erica Riley, 32, of 19th Street, Altoona
  • Jason Weyandt, 43, Dunnings Hwy, Imler
  • Autumn Koch, 40, West Chestnut Ave, Altoona
  • Katy Beam, 35, North 9th Avenue, Altoona
  • Daniel Hogans IV, 42, 2nd Avenue #3, Altoona *
  • Tara Dennis, 28, North 3rd Street, Altoona *
  • Brandi Rupert, 27, 3rd Avenue Rear, Altoona *
  • Jeremy Abram, 26, Hilltop Drive, Altoona
  • Deborah Beckwith, 66, 7th Avenue, Altoona
  • Trisha Gregorchik, Evergreen Manor Apartment E, Altoona
  • Matthew Rajnish, 3rd Avenue, Duncansville *
  • Lynann Shaffer, 58th Street Floor 2, Altoona *
  • Knowledge Jones, Keystone Street, Altoona *
  • Theodore Toney, Walton Avenue, Altoona *
  • Alicia Pecze, 31, Thompson Road, Mineral Point
  • Brock Bantum, 42, East Westmoreland Street, Philadelphia *
  • Michael Flemmings-Smith, 29, Beatrice Avenue, Johnstown*Still at large at time of publication.

Individuals with drug information in Blair County may contact the Operation Our Town “Push Out the Pusher” hotline at 814-693-3020.

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