Two of 12 persons arrested last year as part of what authorities called, "Operation Golden Dope", entered guilty pleas on Carbon County court Monday. The two were among four persons scheduled to select juries on Monday to hear their case but instead entered into plea bargains.
Zachary Robert Lienhard, 20, and Amanda Dawn Rogers, 23, of Nesquehoning, each pleaded to one count of criminal conspiracy to possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance-heroin.
Both admitted being part of the drug ring District Attorney Gary F. Dobias said distributed an estimate to over $1 million of heroin in a four county area. The two were arrested last April during a roundup made by agents of the state Attorney General's office and local police and drug task force members.
The two are the latest in the pending cases to enter a plea.
The two admitted traveling to the Allentown area to get heroin and return to Carbon for sale. The operation covered a five county area, according to Assistant District Attorney Jospeh Matika, who is prosecuting the cases. He said the operation was run during a period of 2007-2009.
Matika said both admitted making at least one trip to Allentown to get the drugs and returning. Authorities identified Frank Munoz, as the alleged ringleader of the operation.
In exchange for the pleas the DA dropped a count of corrupt organizations against the two. The two are not married but have a daughter together.
In the plea agreement Rogers will be placed in the county's Intermediate Punishment Program (IPP) with electronic monitoring for three months with the total sentence being three to 12 months.
Leinhard will be sentenced to serve three to 12 months in the county prison.
President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II accepted the pleas but deferred sentencing to a later date.
The two other defendants who entered pleas Monday were.
Brad A. Sharwell, 49, of Albrightsville, pleaded to one count of simple assault on a police officer. He was arrested on Aug. 13, 2010, in the area of 21 Tallwood Drive, in Holiday Pocono, in Kidder Township. He was charged with assaulting township officer David Mason.
Judge Steven R. Serfass accepted the plea and sentenced Sharwell to time served (22 days) to one year in jail and ordered he render three hours of community service per month while on parole, do not consume or possess any alcohol and have not contact with the victim. He must also pay court costs and a $50 per month supervision fee while on parole.
Dropped in the plea bargain were charges of aggravated assault, another count of simple assault and resisting arrest.
Brandon Michael Coulson, 20, of Palmerton, pleaded to one count of persistent disorderly conduct. He was arrested for an incident that occurred on Feb. 18 along Delware Avenue in Palmerton where he caused a disturbance.
Senior Judge Scott W. Naus, of Combulia/Montour counties court and specially presideing in Carbon, accepted the plea.
He placed Coulson on probation for six months and imposed a fine of $100, costs and a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation. In exchange for the plea another count of persistent disorderly conduct, and one count each of harassment, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness were dropped.
Coulson is currently being held on a detainer filed by Lehigh County officials for a parole violation.