Watch: AG Shapiro announces charges in Clearfield Co. wiretap investigation

    Attorney General Josh Shapiro will stand with representatives from local law enforcement agencies to announce additional charges in a wiretap investigation concerning a local drug ring that operated out of Clearfield County. (AP photo)

    Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Tuesday the shutdown of a multistate pipeline that trafficked and sold crystal meth and cocaine from Ohio to Pennsylvania.

    Shapiro made the announcement at a press conference at the Clearfield County Courthouse, where he also announced new felony charges against those involved.

    “We’ve been sounding the alarm on the crystal meth issue for more than a year now and putting more dedicated resources behind it so that we could have victories like today,, where we are able to reclaim neighborhoods for the good people of Clearfield County," Shapiro said.

    The new charges are in addition to charges filed in September against Sondra McQuillen and Jason and Joyce Merritts for their alleged involvement with the ring, according to the release.

    The drugs distributed by the ring have an estimated street value of $1.5 million, including 10,000 grams of crystal meth, which Shapiro said is equal to 50 to 100 doses being used every week.

    “The illegal distribution of drugs is fueling an epidemic across Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said. “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.”

    The attorney general’s office provided the names and charges for those involved:

    • James Thomas, 49, of Patterson Avenue, Akron, 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 McQuillen, who allegedly brought the drugs back to sell in Clearfield County.
    • 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.

    The Merritts were also charged with child endangerment, for allegedly conducting drug deals while their children, ages 10 and 12, were home, the release said.

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