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Argument at Richland Twp. hotel leads police to drug bust
By: Maria Miller
RICHLAND TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A fight in the lobby of a Johnstown hotel helped lead police to a significant drug bust in one of the rooms. It happened early Monday morning at the Hampton Inn in Richland Township.
Drug busts in hotels are not uncommon. Police said it's usually a way for dealers to set up shop and go unnoticed. It's something police admit probably would have been the case Monday had those involved not caused themselves some unnecessary attention.
Eddie Davis, Devon Dozier and Eduardo Rodriguez are in the Cambria County prison after an argument over a woman in the lobby of the hotel led police to a much bigger case, police said.
"That got us called there and when we started checking it out, we were getting lies and stories weren't matching up," said Detective Thomas Keirn, of the Richland Township Police Department.
Police said they got a search warrant for the room the men were staying in, which revealed an apparent drug operation: a significant amount of heroin, thousands of empty stamp bags and more than $4,000 in cash lying out in the open.
"The stamp bags that we're seeing here are not brand-new to the narcotics agents in town," Keirn said.
"We really can't say that they were dealing out of the hotel, but we find more and more they use it as a base of operation," said Richland Township Police Chief Mike Burgan. "It's a simple way because they're a little bit anonymous when they rent the room or they go into the hotel, and they develop their trade from there."
It's a large amount of drugs and three drug suspects taken off the streets that police admit had it not have been for the initial scuffle, they may have never known.
"It doesn't matter which motel they're at, we have them," Keirn said. "We have these individuals that will stay here and as long as they don't get into something like happened last night, a lot of times they'll just stay under the radar."
"It is scary to realize all that being distributed out on the street," Burgan said of the items they seized.
Two of the men, Davis and Dozier, are from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, respectively, but are very familiar to local police and even had outstanding warrants in Johnstown on suspicion of prior drug activity.
Management at the hotel was unable to comment.