CASE UPDATE: Attorney General Shapiro Announces Additional Charges in Akron to Clearfield Crystal Meth Pipeline

January 8, 2019 | Topic: Criminal

CLEARFIELD — During a press conference today at the Clearfield County Courthouse, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the complete shutdown of a crystal meth pipeline and new felony charges against Clearfield County drug dealers and an Akron, Ohio resident for their roles in the ring, which trafficked and sold crystal methamphetamine and cocaine from Ohio to Pennsylvania.

The estimated street value of all of the crystal meth, cocaine and other drugs distributed by this criminal operation is $1.5 million. That includes 10,000 grams of crystal meth – equal to 50 to 100 doses of crystal meth being used every week.

The additional charges announced by Attorney General Shapiro today were recommended by the 43rd Pennsylvania Statewide Investigating Grand Jury in Presentment No. 6.

“The illegal distribution of drugs is fueling an epidemic across Pennsylvania,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at today’s press conference. “Crystal meth trafficking is on the rise, particularly in rural parts of our Commonwealth, and our agents and prosecutors will investigate and charge it wherever we find it. I’m proud to announce that the Akron, Ohio to Clearfield, Pennsylvania crystal meth pipeline has been shut down.”

James Thomas, 49, of Patterson Avenue, Akron, Ohio, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, 12 counts of possession with intent to deliver and four counts of related charges for selling crystal methamphetamine, cocaine and other drugs to Sondra McQuillen. McQuillen brought the drugs back to sell in Clearfield County.

Sondra McQuillen, 53, of Sanborn Road, Houtzdale, is charged with nine counts of possession with intent to deliver and six counts of other related charges after investigators found drugs, drug paraphernalia and a scale often used by drug dealers at the defendant’s residence.

Kenneth Quade, 31, of Sanborn Road, Houtzdale, was found in McQuillen’s residence at the time the search warrant was executed. Quade is charged with delivery and conspiracy to deliver.

Thomas was originally charged by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in connection with drug seizures of approximately two pounds of methamphetamine, cocaine, firearms and almost $50,000 cash from his home and business.

“Thanks to strong law enforcement collaboration between our office, Akron, Ohio law enforcement and the DEA – and the hard work of the men and women of the 43rd Statewide Investigative Grand Jury – we’ve broken up this drug ring peddling its poisons in Pennsylvania,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “We’re doing whatever it takes attack this problem in cities, towns and counties across Pennsylvania – and anywhere else our investigations may lead.”

These additional charges stem from the first set of charges announced in September 2018 against Sondra McQuillen, and Jason and Joyce Merritts for trafficking and selling crystal meth, cocaine and other drugs from Akron, Ohio to Clearfield County. At that time, the Merritts were also charged with child endangerment for conducting drug deals while their 10- and 12-year-old children were at home.

The charges announced today derived from drugs, drug paraphernalia and a scale often used by drug dealers at McQuillens’ residence, finding another drug dealer conspiring with McQuillen, Kenneth Quade and identifying James Thomas as the source from Ohio.

The investigation was developed by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Bureau of Narcotics Investigation and Drug Control.

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