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August 23, 2013

Police: 3 arrested in largest heroin operation uncovered here

JOHNSTOWN — Police say the kingpin of a major heroin processing operation chose a modest apartment near a quiet Richland Township neighborhood to avoid drawing suspicion.

But authorities have been tracking James Andre Hendricks, 37, for about three years and were able to connect him with several heroin deals before raiding the apartment off Bedford Street near Alvin Street Thursday.

Inside they found what appears to be the largest heroin operation ever uncovered in Cambria County.

“I’ve never seen that much raw heroin at one single time,” said Detective Kevin Price of Cambria County Drug Task Force.

“I’ve been working in central Pennsylvania since 1999,” said Anthony Sassano, a special investigator with the attorney general’s office. “This is the most I have, personally ever seen.”

The investigation and search of the apartment led to the arrest of Hendricks, along with Dian Shanell Lassiter, 30, and Logan Harris, 31.

Hendricks and Lassiter’s were living in the Bedford Street rear apartment, while Harris’s address is listed as Plainfield, N.J.

Price said Hendricks was also from New Jersey, and Lassiter is from Johnstown.

Inside the apartment, police found large quantities of heroin, drug paraphernalia and packaging, along with a marijuana growing operation, two handguns and cash.

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