Police: drug bust in York County symbolic of heroin epidemic

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CARROLL TOWNSHIP, Pa. —  Police said a drug bust in Dillsburg and the surrounding area in York County shows the heroin epidemic truly reaches everywhere.

The investigation from February until late May helped police shut down a significant heroin operation.

Police arrested 11 people, 10 of whom are facing felony charges. The Carroll Township Police Department had received a few complaints of possible drug activity which got the investigation going.

The suspected drug dealers came from all over, even as far as Philadelphia, and took advantage, police said, of the rural atmosphere.

“We had some individuals who lived in the area, but then we had other individuals who came actually to Northern York County. We had one individual who actually set up shop and lived in the area here. That individual indicated that this was a place where he could operate a little freer in contrast with an urban area where there is a large amount of police activity at all times,” said York County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Dave Sunday.

“I think they’re looking at little Dillsburg as, we can come down here and do our drugs, and give our drugs to the community out here, and we’re not going to get caught. We are going to do our best to do whatever we can to stop that,” said Carroll Township Police Chief Thomas Wargo.

News Release from Police: As in many parts of York County, the Carroll Township Police Department has noticed an increase in the number of incidents, directly and indirectly, involving heroin. Officers from that department have determined that not only are local residents using and selling heroin, but individuals from the immediate area are also impacting the heroin trade in Northern York County.

Since February 2015, the Carroll Township Police Department and the York County Drug Task Force have conducted several investigations targeting individuals who are purchasing or delivering heroin in the Dillsburg area as well as surrounding locations in Northern York County. Throughout the course of these investigations assistance was provided by the Cumberland County Drug Task Force and the Pennsylvania State Police.

On 1/31/2015 Melissa Manganello, age 23, 1178 Gettysburg Pike, Dillsburg, PA and Darick Sofi, Jr., age 23, 92 Victory Church Rd, Gardners, PA were arrested after they sold a quantity of heroin and were found to be in possession of an additional 123 bags. This investigation determined they were acquiring heroin in the Harrisburg area and bringing it back to Dillsburg for distribution. Both were charged with heroin distribution offenses and Criminal Conspiracy.

On 2/06/2015 Labre Lopez, age 43, and Kelly Westbrook, age 40, both of 804 State Street, Lemoyne, PA were taken into custody in a parking lot in the Dillsburg area after they were found to be in possession of 190 bags of heroin which were packaged for sale, along with a larger quantity of unpackaged heroin. Both were charged with heroin distribution offenses and Criminal Conspiracy.

Coincidentally, on 2/06/2015, while awaiting Lopez and Westbrook’s arrival at the location where they were later arrested, Drug Task Force officers observed a drug transaction occur between Heather Heiser, age 28, 1132 Petersburg Rd, Boiling Springs, PA and David Thompson Jr., age 37, 571 Oxford Rd, Gardners, PA. Investigators approached them and found Heiser to be in possession of one bag of heroin which she had just purchased from Thompson. Thompson was found to be in possession of an additional 15 bags of heroin. Both were charged with drug offenses.

On 4/14/2015 investigators served a search warrant at a residence in Monaghan Township which was occupied by David Lee, Jr., age 26 who moved there from Harrisburg in late 2014. It became evident that Lee was distributing heroin from this location. Seized at that time were 1300 bags of heroin. Information developed during the investigation indicated that Lee moved to rural Monaghan Township in an effort to isolate himself from law enforcement and to avoid some of the inherent dangers associated with urban drug dealing.

On 4/16/2015 police officers arrested Erin Claycomb, age 19, 7363 King Saint Clair Rd, Alum Bank, PA, and Alan Mannion, age 27, 141 Graybill Rd, Osterburg, PA. Both of these persons are Bedford County residents who traveled to Dillsburg to purchase $2000 worth of heroin from a supplier. They intended to return to Bedford County to distribute the heroin. Our investigation determined that Claycomb, and an associate, Keith Hendricks, age 23, 632 S. Richard Street, Bedford, PA had travelled to Central-Pennsylvania from Bedford two or three times per week for the past several months for the purpose of acquiring heroin for distribution in Bedford County. Hendricks made arrangements for the 4/16/2015 purchase and sent Claycomb and Mannion to pick it up from his source. All three were charged with Criminal Attempt to Possess with the Intent to Deliver Heroin.

Later, that same day (4/16/2015), police officers arrested Naeen Stubbs, age 26, 6245 Homer Street, Philadelphia, PA after he arrived at a location in the Dillsburg area with a quantity of heroin. Stubbs drove from the Philadelphia area with heroin which he intended to deliver to a prospective buyer in the Dillsburg area.

This collaborative effort between the Carroll Township Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, Cumberland County Drug Task Force and the York County Drug Task Force resulted in the arrests of eleven individuals, and the seizure of over 1,600 bags of heroin.

York County District Attorney Tom Kearney credits the Carroll Township Police Department for taking a proactive role in addressing the problem that heroin has become in York County. As we have seen, time and time again, heroin is a cancer in our community and impacts all of York County, urban and rural areas alike. “The efforts of our law enforcement officers throughout the course of this investigation have without a doubt, saved countless lives” Kearney said.