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Member of drug ring enters guilty plea

Published November 03. 2010 05:00PM

A member of a cocaine and crack cocaine selling ring that operated in Carbon and Lehigh counties entered a guilty plea to a drug count Tuesday in the county court.

James Allen Neff, 56, of Jim Thorpe, pleaded guilty before Senior Judge Richard W. Webb to a charge of criminal use of a communication facility.

Neff was arrested in February 2009 when agents from the state Attorney General's office and local police rounded up suspects in the ring. A total of nine persons were named suspects in the operation.

At the time of the arrests District Attorney Gary F. Dobias said, "The arrests will have an impact on the distribution of illegal drugs, particularly cocaine in this area."

Since the arrests most of the defendants have entered guitly pleas and most have been sentenced.

Agents of the AG office obtained information from a confidential informant (CI) that he had made purchases of cocaine and crack cocaine from Neff. During the course of the investigation others were implicated in the ring along with Neff.

Neff admitted using his cell phone to set up sales of the drugs to the CI and others.The drug dealing operation was responsible for the sale of between $80,000 to $100,000 worth of cocaine during a two-month period in late 2008, Dobias said at the time.

Neff also pleaded guilty to one count of harassment for an incident on Feb. 26, 2009, in Lehighton. Police attempted to serve a warrant on Neff and he was involved in a altercation with Nesquehoning Police Chief Sean Smith, a member of the county's drug task force, according to police records.

Webb accepted the pleas but deferred sentencing and ordered the adult probation office to prepare a presentence investigation (PSI) report.

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