The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

April 23, 2008

60 nabbed in massive drug bust

EBENSBURG — In one of Cambria County’s largest drug investigations, which culminated Wednesday, authorities have arrested about 60 suspected drug dealers during the last 2½ weeks, District Attorney Patrick Kiniry announced.

They are accused of trafficking in heroin, crack cocaine, powdered cocaine and prescription drugs, mainly OxyContin, throughout the county.

During the various raids and arrests, officers seized illegal drugs with a street value of $30,000, about $7,000 in cash and one stolen firearm, the district attorney said.

Warrants are out for the arrests of 11 more people, Kiniry said at a news conference at the county courthouse.

While the arrests may make “a dent” in drug trafficking, Kiniry said that others soon would be on the streets filling the void.

“This is a never-ending battle,” he said. “There’s never a day you can’t buy (illegal) drugs in Cambria County.”

Kiniry was joined by state Attorney General Tom Corbett, who said dealing of prescription drugs is on the upswing not only in Cambria County but statewide.

Corbett said his office now will have investigators working closely with the county drug task force, which is under the jurisdiction of the DA.

Cambria also will be part of the Central Region because much of the trafficking flows between Altoona and Cambria County, he said.

Kiniry said the first raid was April 7, when three dealers were taken into custody at a Grove Avenue house in Johnstown’s Moxham section. Cocaine with a street value of more than $12,000 was seized along with $1,200 in cash, he said.

One of the defendants, Caron Howling, was described by Kiniry as a high-level dealer responsible for distributing tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of cocaine a month in Greater Johnstown.

On April 10, the task force and Richland Township police arrested four people at the Richland Motel. Police believe they were selling heroin from a motel room.

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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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