The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

April 30, 2013

DA: Crack investigation in city turns up kingpin

Kathy Mellott
kmellott@tribdem.com

EBENSBURG — “Significant” arrests were made in three separate drug busts in the Johns­town and Richland Township areas last week, District Attorney Kelly Callihan said Tuesday.

To date, six people have been arrested, including one Callihan termed a “kingpin” out of Philadelphia.

Authorities are on the lookout for another Philadelphia man who is listed as a fugitive.

Callihan termed a bust on April 23 a “significant operation” involving crack cocaine.

Two smaller busts – on April 24 and Thursday – probably are unrelated to the first action, she said.

“With the arrests (in the three drug busts) it should put a significant dent in the drugs that are being distributed in Cambria County,” she said.

She estimated that $10,000 in crack cocaine and $3,000 worth of heroin headed for local streets was seized.

Suspects from Philly

The first bust involved the Cambria County Drug Task Force, FBI, state Attorney General’s Office and Johnstown Police Department.

“This investigation and the subsequent arrests dismantled a crack cocaine distribution ring set up in Johnstown that transported large quantities from Philadelphia to Cambria County,” Callihan said.

George “G” Lawrence, 27, of the 4000 block of Westminster Avenue, Philadelphia, was identified as the leader of the ring. He was apprehended over the weekend and will be brought from New York to Cambria County today, Callihan said.

Authorities continue to look for Paul “P” Robinson, 31, of the 4000 block of Hazel Avenue, Philadelphia, who is believed to be in southeastern Pennsylvania, Callihan said.

The district attorney is asking anyone with information on locating Robinson to contact her office at 472-1680 or the drug task force hotline at 800-548-7500.

Two Johnstown woman were arrested as part of the bust.

Paulette Alt, 51, of the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, was arraigned by District Judge Rick Varner of Salix and lodged in the Cambria County Prison on $100,000 bond.

Donna Hawk, 48, of the

700 block of Maple Avenue, had not been arraigned as of Tuesday.

Crack, heroin sales

Rukiya Smith, 34, of Fairfield Avenue in Johnstown, was arrested as a result of the

April 24 drug bust.

Callihan said that during the past month, the drug task force made controlled purchases of large quantities of crack cocaine and heroin from Smith, who was said to be distributing thousands of dollars worth of both drugs throughout the Johnstown area.

Smith attempted to elude police in a parking lot at Haines and Franklin streets in the city’s Kernville section. When she was taken into custody, she was in possession of 100 bags of heroin, authorities said.

She was arraigned by Varner and lodged in the county prison with bond set at $100,000.

Pittsburgh connection

Two Johnstown residents were arrested by the drug task force following a controlled buy in a parking lot in the Richland Township area on Thursday, authorities said.

Those arrested were identified as John “Ike” Malden, 38, of the 700 block of Fronheiser Street and Elisa Fields, 39, of the same address.

Police believe the two had purchased crack cocaine in the Pittsburgh area were selling it in Richland and the Horners­town section of Johnstown.

Varner arraigned both suspects and set Malden’s bond at $200,000 and Fields’ at $15,000. Both are in the county prison.

Preliminary hearing dates for the suspects were not available late Tuesday.

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