Tamaqua man's drug trial concludes; jury deliberating
A Tamaqua man on trial on charges of allegedly selling drugs because he paid a Tamaqua police informant with drugs for a CB microphone denied the charges and claimed he was "set up" by the informant.
Raymond William Yocum, 53, of 35 Pine Street, denied he made the transaction with the informant and claimed he was set up by the informant because they had a dispute over a previous business transaction. The case was sent to the jury at the Schuylkill County Courthouse late this morning to decide the guilt or innocent's of Yocum.
Two Tamaqua police officers, Sgt. Richard Weaver and Patrolman Stannell testifed on June 26, 2008, they were on duty in plain clothes in the neighborhood where the informant lived and he came out of his home and told them about the proposed transaction. The officers then made arrangements for the normal procedure for a drug buy. Weaver said the informant had helped police in nabbing several drug sellers. Weaver added that a drug task force was formed in the borough because of the growing drug problem.
The officers, after thoroughly searching the informant and his vehicle as a procedure to make sure he didn't possess any drugs, then followed him as he drove and parked across the street from Yocum's home. The informant testified Yocum had called him and discussed purchasing a CB microphone and proposed paying for it with drugs.
The informant testified a few moments after he parked his truck across the street from Yocum's home the defendant came out and crossed the street to his car where the transaction took place. He then drove to the area where he was to meet the police and handed them a vial which contained drugs which were later tested at the state police crime lab. The lab report identified the drugs as buprenorphine and 12 tables of alprazolona.
Officers Weaver and Stanell testified they followed the informant in an unmarked car and parked about 20 feet from where he parked and observed Yocum come out of his home and cross over to the car. Weaver said Yocum had his right arm up in the air and the fist closed and that he stopped at the truck and leaned on the door window frame.
Weaver testified he could not see any exchange between Yocum and the informant but saw Yocum leave the car a few moments later carrying a CB microphone. After the informant left they followed him to the meeting point which was the former Tamaqua radio station and the informant turned over the vial. He was paid $20 for his services.
Yocum claimed he had known the informant about 35 years and he had been involved with the informant in picking up metals and taking them to a scrap yard and picking garbage and other small jobs to earn enough money for gas. He claimed he was under medication and that he had lost the vial a day before the alleged incident and believed he lost it in the informant's truck.
Yocum denied proposing to pay for a microphone with drugs. The informant returned to the witness stand and rebuffed the testimony claiming he didn't pick Yocum up the day before and that Yocum never called him about the missing drugs.
The defendant's mother, Josephine Keip, testified her son took medication for diabetes and for seizures and she drove him regularly to a drug and alcohol clinic in Lehighton where he received medication. She stated she works at a restaurant and that the reputation of the informant in the community is that "he is a thief."
Assistant District Attorney James Menconi prosecuted the case and Attorney Paul Levy represented Yocum and both made closing addresses to the jury this morning.
Judge Cyrus Palmer Dolbin is the trial judge.