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Lansford councilman to seek ARD over firearms purchase

Published September 15. 2011 05:01PM

A member of Lansford Borough Council, charged with purchasing two firearms which had been taken in a burglary in the borough, waived a hearing on the charge and will seek to enter the ARD (accelerated rehabilitation disposition) program.

Completion of the ARD program means the charges would be expunged from his criminal record after a specified period, probably a year.

Andrew M. Snyder, 43, of 28 Cortright St., was charged by state police at Lehighton barracks with two counts of receiving stolen property.

A co-defendant in the case, Jessica Ann Ensel, a.k.a. Jessica Ann Rudy, of 717 E. Patterson St., Lansford, agreed to plead guilty to receiving stolen property if other charges - two counts of sale or transfer of firearms - are dropped.

District Judge Casimir T. Kosciolek of Lansford heard the requests by the defendants.

Snyder, who reportedly previously served for 10 years as a law enforcement officer, is currently free on $2,000 unsecured bail while Ensel is in prison because these charges occurred while she was on parole from unrelated offenses.

The firearms which Snyder allegedly purchased were a Taurus revolver .357 Magnum and a Dan Wesson revolver .44 magnum, stolen from the residence of John Mansky of Kline Avenue between July 11 and July 14 of this year.

According to an affidavit filed by Trooper Nicolas A. De La Iglesia of the state police, Ensel contacted an individual who referred her to Snyder.

The sale of the guns reportedly happened at another individual's residence.

The individual who referred Ensel to Snyder contacted Lansford police, and stated Ensel was trying to sell firearms which could not be registered, the affidavit says.

On July 26, Snyder contacted Detective Jack Soberick of the Lansford Police Department and told him he was in possession of the firearms. He arranged with Soberick to turn in the firearms since they were stolen property.

Snyder was interviewed by De La Iglesia and another police officer at the Lansford Police Station on July 26 at 11:40 p.m. Snyder told police he purchased the guns from Ensel.

The affidavit says Ensel sold the firearms to Snyder for about half their actual value.

In an interview with the TIMES NEWS on Sept. 9, Snyder said, "There is no doubt in my mind that this is a retaliatory thing for my being on council."

He added, "I purchased the guns through a friend of a friend in good faith, and believed they were legal."

He said he contacted police initially about the guns and when told they were stolen, he immediately arranged to turn them over to the police.

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