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Seven arrested in drug dealing case

Published February 25. 2011 05:00PM

A routine traffic stop in Monroe County has led to the arrest of seven persons on drug dealing and related charges.

Pocono Mountain Regional police said the traffic stop occurred about 6:34 p.m. on Feb. 18 at the intersection of SR940 and Panther Lane, in Pocono Summit, for failure to stop for a red traffic signal. As a result of that stop, and a continuing investigation, the arrests were made.

The seven arrested were identified as Andre Soares, 18, of Effort; Joshua Helwig, 19, of Catawissa; Lane Dickey, 20, of Bangor; Richard Vera, 18, of Allentown; Walter Nichols, 40, of Macungie; Kyle Bartholomew, 26, and Marian Fuhr, 20, both of Mt. Pocono.

Police gave the following account of what happened.

At the stop the occupants of the vehicle were identified as Soares, Helwig and Dickey. An odor of marijuana was detected coming from the vehicle and a search was conducted. Found in the vehicle was one quarter pound of marijuana, digital scales and numerous sizes of baggies used to package marijuana for street level sales, police said.

Soares, Helwig and Dickey were placed under arrest. Police said a further investigation led to the identification of a source in Mt. Pocono where the bulk marijuana came from. The address obtained, 97 Fairview Ave., was further identified as a location already under investigation for the distribution of controlled substances.

Police said they then obtained a search warrant for the home and executed on Feb. 19. At the residence police arrested Bartholomew and Fuhr. Police also located in the home quantities of marijuana, heroin and prescription pills and also evidence of their distribution throughout the area.

During the course of the home investigation police learned the source of the heroin found in the house was a male from the Allentown area.

On Feb. 23, through undercover operations, police made contact by cellular phone with a male for the purchase of two bricks (100 bags) of heroin for $800 purchase price. The contact agreed to bring the heroin to the 97 Fairview Ave. address.

About 6 p.m. that day Nichols and Vera arrived at the home and knocked on the door of the residence. Police then converged on the two. Vera was found to have the two bricks of heroin in his possession, which he tried to toss out of the view of the police. Nichols was found to be in possession of the cellular phone police called to make the arranged sale.

Both were taken into custody. Nichols was also found to have in his possession three additional cellular phones and $154 in U.S. currency in denominations consistent with street level dealings.

While processing Vera it was learned he had a fugitive from justice warrant issued for his arrest out of Lehigh County for a parole violation as well as a recent warrant issued to Allentown police for a robbery that occurred on Nov. 29, 2010, in the city.

Nichols and Vera were taken to the county prison and arraigned by duty District Judge Richard Claypool on charges of possession with intent to deliver heroin, criminal conspiracy, criminal use of a communication device, and related drug offenses. Vera was lodged on the warrants issued for his arrest as was Nichols for failure to post bail.

Police said Soares was jailed on Feb. 18 when arrested on charges of possession with intent to deliver marijuana, criminal conspiracy and related offenses after failing to post $25,000 bail. Helwig and Dickey were released the night of the vehicle stop after being charged with drug counts.

Fuhr and Bartholomew were jailed in lieu of $25,000 bail each on charges of possession with intent to deliver heroin and marijuana and related drug counts.

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