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Agents break up drug ring based in Centre County
Reported By: Erin Calandra
Written By: Marc Stempka
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Agents with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office and local police departments have filed charges against 10 people accused of dealing drugs through Centre and another nearby county.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said in a release Thursday that agents with the Bureau of Narcotics Investigation and local police made arrests in a Centre to Lycoming County heroin ring that was based in Pleasant Gap.
Kane said a grand jury has been reviewing testimony and evidence related to the distribution of heroin and cocaine.
Kane said investigators learned that a New York heroin and cocaine source was living in Pleasant Gap and using local people to make drug deliveries in the State College and Williamsport areas. Agents were able to use wiretaps and figured out the local users and dealers were getting drugs from Philadelphia and Williamsport.
Agents arrested four people suspected of selling and transporting the drugs and are looking for another four. The arrests come as the second part of a heroin trafficking investigation that started in March 2013 and Thursday's arrests are a result of last year's ongoing investigation.
CLICK HERE: For photos of the suspects
[Top row: Theophilus Baldwin, Amanda Cain, Douglas Cowher, Harvey Edwards, Aaron Harris.
Second row: Bryon Jacobs, Mandy Mabry, Chad Solt, Chelcie Styers, Dwayne Mays]
Agents arrested Amanda Cain, 29, of Howard; Chelcie Styers, 20, of Blanchard; Mandy Mabry, 38, of Lock Haven; and Harvey Edwards, 37, of Williamsport. All are facing several charges, including possession with intent to deliver heroin and conspiracy.
Others charged in the investigation are currently in prison for other crimes and will now face additional charges related to the drug ring.
Agents charged Theophilius Baldwin, 36, who is currently incarcerated at the Centre County Correctional Facility, and Dwayne Mays, 27, who is currently incarcerated at SCI Laurel Highlands, with several drug-related counts including delivery of heroin and conspiracy.
Investigators continued Thursday to search for Bryon Jacobs, 25, of Philadelphia; Aaron Harris, 30, of Philadelphia; Douglas Cowher, 40, of Woodward; and Chad Solt, 39, of Pennsylvania Furnace, for their suspected roles in the ring.
Attorney General's Office Regional Director Tony Sassano said those identified Thursday were mid-level drug dealers.
"[They would] bring in enough [drugs] here to make a steady stream of cash for themselves," Sassano said. "Typically the buys were smaller buys, bag buys, maybe a bundle buy with just 10 bags."
The arrests in this case are not linked to a recent spike in overdoses in western Pennsylvania due to heroin, Kane said. That heroin has tested positive to being laced with fentanyl.
Kane said additional arrests are expected in this ongoing investigation.
In addition to agents with the Attorney General's Office, the Centre County District Attorney's Office, Lycoming County Drug Task Force, Bellefonte, Ferguson Township, Patton Township, Spring Township and State College police departments were involved in the investigation.