Press Release

Taking Down Drug Dealers in Altoona and Blair County

June 30, 2017 | Topic: Criminal

In 4th major operation since January, 50 dealers selling heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, other drugs are charged

Attorney General Josh Shapiro: “From street corners to doctors’ offices to board rooms, we’re doing whatever it takes to get illegal drugs – and the people selling them – out of our communities.

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced criminal charges against 50 people accused of selling heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and other drugs on the streets of Altoona and surrounding Blair County.

“As a result of law enforcement collaboration, our agents and local law enforcement today filed charges against 50 drug dealers who peddled their poison in Altoona and Blair County,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “From street corners to doctors’ offices to board rooms, we’re doing whatever it takes  to get illegal drugs – and  the people selling them – out of our communities.”

Attorney General Shapiro noted today’s operation was the  fourth significant law enforcement operation targeting drug dealing in Blair County and the  surrounding region since he was sworn into office in January. These major operations have netted more than 125 dealers arrested on various charges. Other probes have arrested multiple other dealers as well.

“Drug dealers don’t care about municipal boundaries, and neither can we,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “We’ll remain in Altoona and Blair County as long as it takes to assist local law enforcement in making their communities safer. Our work is not done.

Attorney General Shapiro thanked the following agencies for their assistance in a year-long investigation resulting in today’s charges. “Altoona Police, the Blair County District Attorney’s Office, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Blair County Sheriff, Pennsylvania Probation and Parole, and the Blair County Drug Task Force worked collaboratively and are helping to make Blair County safer,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “We thank every agent, officer and prosecutor involved in this investigation.”

Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio said:  “Thanks to the continued cooperation with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and Operation Our Town we’ve had another successful operation. This is a great day in Blair County with drug dealers taken off the street and drugs being diverted and kept out the hands of drug abusers.”

The drug sales interrupted and dealers charged today were focused on heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and the illegal sale of various prescription drugs. Several of the dealers charged today were also selling suboxone, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction.

Law enforcement officials used a series of controlled purchases and other investigative tactics to identify the drug dealers. The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.

Attorney General Shapiro and District Attorney Consiglio thanked Operation Our Town, an organization in Blair County with a mission of supporting the fight against drugs and violent crime. People with information can call the “Push Out the Pusher” hotline at 814-693-3020.

The following is a list of people charged today with possession with intent to deliver various drugs, along with related offenses:

1.      Thomas Varholik, 30, of Altoona
2.      Shaun Page, 37, of Tyrone
3.      Donna Ryan, 52, of Altoona
4.      Theresa Heiss, 42, of Altoona
5.      Tonya Settlemyer, 32, of Altoona
6.      Phillip Stevens, 30, of Altoona
7.      Tiffany Pigza, 23, of Curwensville
8.      David Walter, 27, of Altoona
9.      Brandon Maybush, 31, of Altoona
10.  Jordan Bowser, 24, of East Freedom
11.  Andrew Parks, 24, of Duncansville
12.  Kelly Merritts, 29, of Altoona
13.  Felicia Oyebi, 42, of Altoona
14.  Christopher Feudale, 37, of Altoona
15.  Canaan Laich, 34, of Altoona
16.  Luke Thomas, 62, of Altoona
17.  Michael Eades, 26, of Altoona
18.  Sarah Keller, 30, of Altoona
19.  James Martin, 35, of Tyrone
20.  Tershar Miller, 21, of Altoona
21.  Lucas Cooper, 39, of Duncansville
22.  Jill Vaughn, 39, of Duncansville
23.  Samuel Moyer, 67, of Duncansville
24.  Jeremie Coughenour, 37, of Altoona
25.  Lisa Ebersole, 30, of Altoona
26.  Jonathan Sprankle, 23, of Altoona
27.  Trevon Fortson, 30, of Altoona
28.  Kathy Gengenbach, 54, of Altoona
29.  Jacklynn Smith, 34, of Altoona
30.  Crystal Lingenfelter, 39, of Altoona
31.  David Cooper, 30, of Martinsburg
32.  Brennan Duffy, 22, of Bedford
33.  Andrew Carbaugh, 37, of Saxton
34.  Philip White, 27, of Altoona
35.  Bradley Collier, 28, of Altoona
36.  Michael Steele, 38, of Altoona
37.  David Prout, 36, of State College
38.  Patricia Graham, 40, of Altoona
39.  Samantha Grissinger, 25, of Altoona
40.  Steven Beasom, 47, of Tyrone
41.  Brad Denny, 28, of Altoona
42.  Deshawn Underwood, 40, of Altoona
43.  Tabatha Fenchak, 36, of Altoona
44.  Kenneth Ballos II, 32, of Altoona
45.  Crystal Ballos, 33, of Altoona
46.  Frank Lang, 42, of Altoona
47.  Tracy McNeal, 43, of Duncansville
48.  Misti Staus, 36, of Altoona
49.  Jamie Weatherwalk, 37, of Altoona
50.  Dana Brown, 41, of Altoona

The defendants will be preliminarily arraigned before Blair County Magisterial District Judge Fred Miller and prosecuted by the Blair County District Attorney Office.

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