HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced charges against 31 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 6th major drug sweep in Blair County since Attorney General Shapiro took office one year ago.
“Thanks to strong collaboration, our agents and local and state law enforcement charged these drug dealers with peddling their poison in Altoona and throughout Blair County,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “My office has arrested nearly 200 dealers through these sweeps in Blair County since I was sworn into office one year ago. We’ll be there as long as it takes, working with our law enforcement partners, to help make this region safer.”
The charges in these unrelated drug dealing cases are a result of a year-long investigation by the Office of Attorney General, Altoona Police, the Blair County Drug Task Force, the Blair County Sheriff’s Department, Pennsylvania State Parole and the Pennsylvania State Police.
“A big thanks and appreciation goes out to our law enforcement officers for their dedicated and professional work on these investigations,” said Blair County District Attorney Richard A. Consiglio. “My office, along with those officers, will aggressively prosecute these defendants.”
The drug dealers charged today were selling heroin, opioids, crystal meth and other drugs. Six of the investigations involved the illegal street sale of suboxone and methadone, which are used to treat opioid addiction and prevent painful withdraw symptoms in drug-addicted persons.
“Drug dealers aren’t constrained by municipal boundaries, and neither are we,” added Attorney General Shapiro. “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.”
In the past year, Attorney General Shapiro has emphasized a multi-pronged approach to fighting the opioid epidemic in Pennsylvania. Since taking office one year ago, 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 43 tons of drugs – a 65 percent increase.
- 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:
- Thomas Schmidt, 24, of South Deer Run, Lincoln University
- Russell Grager, 24, of 5th Street, Altoona
- Rickie Bollman, 32, of Walnut Avenue, Altoona
- Stephen Shimko, 34, of 10th Street, Altoona
- Edwin Davis, 64, of Lexington Avenue, Altoona
- Sally Pope, 57, of Howard Avenue, Altoona
- Ronald Pierucci, 42, of 2nd Street, Altoona
- Dakota Wilson, 25, of East Crawford Avenue, Altoona
- Allyssa McCaulley, 19, of 10th Street, Altoona
- James Rodgers, 37, of East 5th Avenue, Altoona
- Felicia Simpson, 25, of 15th Avenue, Altoona
- Krystle Zink, 27, of 15th Street, Altoona
- Vincent McFadden, 30, of North 1st Street, Bellwood
- Courtney Babcock, 37, of North 2nd Street, Bellwood
- Willis Pierce, 49, of Dysart Avenue, Altoona
- Destiny Tatsch, 20, of 14th Avenue, Altoona
- Mary McFadden, 41, of Montrose Avenue, Altoona
- Paul McFadden, 46, of Montrose Avenue, Altoona
- Cameron Scott, 27, of Broad Avenue, Altoona
- Mark Bynum, 39, of 8th Avenue, Altoona
- Amber Schwartztrauber, 24, of Lloyd Street, Altoona
- James Kelly, 32, of 4th Avenue, Altoona
- Dana Ewing, 35, of Lloyd Street, Altoona
- Teresa Keller, 44, of 5th Avenue, Altoona
- Kayla Bauman, 22, of Lower Claar Road, Claysburg
- Kristyn Hartman, 26, of Crestview Rd, Breezewood
- Lisa Williams, 30, of 22nd Street, Altoona
- Tracy Johnson, 61, of University Drive, Altoona
- Brennan Duffy, 22, of 1st Avenue, Altoona
- David Stepp, 42, of 4th Avenue, Altoona
- Heather Koelle, 44, of Maple Avenue, Altoona