16 dealers charged in connection with drug ring that sold heroin and cocaine in Blair, Cambria counties
BLAIR COUNTY, Pa. — More than a dozen drug dealers have been charged in connection with a ring that sold 780,000 bags of heroin worth an estimated $7.8 million over 13 months, according to the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Blair County District Attorney Rich Consiglio and other officials made the announcement today.
The dealers, who also sold cocaine worth $1.9 million, had territory in Blair and Cambria counties.
“This investigation involved dealers who transported large amounts of heroin and cocaine from Philadelphia to Altoona and Johnstown,” Attorney General Shapiro said at a press conference outside the Blair County Courthouse. “Our work with District Attorney Consiglio and other state and local law enforcement agencies led to the dismantling of a major drug pipeline into Blair and Cambria counties. We will remain merciless with the dealers peddling these poisons in our communities.”
The main target of the investigation, Damon “Fat Cat” Devine, 40, was identified by a statewide investigating jury, the release states. The investigation revealed that the ring, led by Devine, sold heroin that was stamped “Dragon” on the bags because of its strong potency compared to others sold in Altoona or Johnstown.
Devine was arrested on two separate occasions during the investigation.
The first stemmed from a chase between Devine, an associate of the ring who was driver and a Pennsylvania State Police Trooper in August 2016. The trooper attempted to pull Devine’s vehicle over but a chase ensued — eventually ending in a crash. A total of 3,750 heroin baggies stamped “Dragon,” 127 grams of cocaine and other evidence was seized from the vehicle, according to the release. Devine posted bail after his arrest and continued to operate his drug organization.
The second arrest took place in February 2017 when one of Devine’s associates — who was arrested by investigators earlier in time after selling them drugs — agreed to cooperate with law enforcement and buy heroin from Devine. After the transaction, investigators arrested Devine — he had 651 bags of “Dragon” heroin in his possession, the release says.
During the investigation, law enforcement seized 14,890 bags of heroin, a street value total of nearly $150,000, and nearly half a pound of cocaine.
“These arrests will go a long way in slowing down the availability of cocaine and heroin in Blair and Cambria counties,” said Blair DA Consiglio. “This is another example of law enforcement reaching higher in the food chain to cut off the supply of poison to our communities.”
The following defendants, in addition to Devine, are charged with possessing with intent to distribute narcotics, conspiracy, among others:
- Aaron Beard, 50, of 19th St, Altoona
- Melissa Coleman, 43, of Stackhouse St, Johnstown
- James Everett-Bey, 40, of Hunter Street, Philadelphia
- Richard Govier, 39, of W Main St, Stoystown
- Kristy Hicks, 38, of 29th St, Altoona
- Kara Kirby-Horner, 35, of Campbell Ave, Johnstown
- Blaine Jackson, 40, of Chandler Ave, Johnstown
- Jaime Madden, 52, of Franklin St, Johnstown
- Jasmine McGowan, 27, of Cypress Ave, Johnstown
- James Miller, 28, of Ihmsen Ave, Johnstown
- Jabu Robinson, 37, of W Wyneva St, Philadelphia
- Phillip Stevens, 30, of Cherry Ave, Altoona
- Travis Taylor, 39, of 1st Ave, Altoona
- Brieon Thurston, 35, of Lenhart St, Johnstown
- Barbara Tyler, 58, of Greenwood Ave, Trenton, NJ