'Operation Golden Dope' suspects enter pleas
Two men involved in buying items stolen by a multi-county drug ring entered guilty pleas on Thursday in Carbon County Court. They were among eight defendants in pending criminal cases to enter pleas before President Judge Roger N. Nanovic II.
Pawn shop owner
Donald H. Dorward Sr., 65, of Lehighton pleaded to one count of receiving stolen property as a felony three while Daniel M. Eremus, 65, also of Lehighton, pleaded to one count of receiving, as a misdemeanor one. Eremus was described as working for Dorward, who owned a pawn shop and bought the stolen goods.
The two were among 12 arrested for taking part in a drug and burglary ring that was operating in Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton and Schuylkill counties. The ring would burglarized homes and businesses and then sell the items at pawn shops. They then used the money to buy drugs for resale in the area.
The investigation of the ring was labeled "Operation Golden Dope."
Nanovic accepted the plea bargain in which Dorward will be sentenced to serve six to 12 months under house arrest with electronic monitoring. If he doesn't qualify for the Intermediate Punishment Program (IPP), then the sentence will be served in the county prison. Nanovic deferred sentencing so the adult probation office can investigate to see if Dorward is eligible for the IPP.
Eremus worked for Dorward and accepted some of the stolen property.
Nanovic sentenced him to serve one to 12 months in prison followed by two years probation. He was also ordered to get a drug and alcohol (D&A) evaluation and follow any recommendations, zero tolerance imposed on D&A use and render three hours of community service per month while on parole or probation.
Eremus was given credit for spending 44 days in prison and was paroled.
Other defendants who entered pleas included:
Jeff Delong, 19, of Lehighton, pleaded to one count each of simple assault and harassment, as a summary offense.
He was arrested by Jim Thorpe police for an incident on April 27 at the intersection of Center and North streets.
He admitted assaulting Audrey Landis and harassing Tiffany Stahl. Stahl is Delong's ex-girlfriend and Landis was a friend of Stahl.
Delong said he was highly intoxicated at the time of the incident.
On the assault count Nanovic sentenced Delong to serve nine to 18 months in prison followed by one year probation. The sentence is concurrent to a prison term he is currently serving in Northumberland County for an aggravated assault. On the harassment charge he was fined $300 and costs.
He was also ordered to get a D&A evaluation, zero tolerance for D&A use, and attend and complete anger management counseling sessions.
Laurie Hudak, 47, of Catasauqua, pleaded to one count of driving under the influence (DUI). She was arrested on May 21 by state police along SR903 at Maury Road, in Penn Forest Township. Given a test, the result was .06BAC. This is Hudak's second offense.
Nanovic sentenced her to serve 30 days to six months in jail, a fine of $750, one year license suspension, get a D&A evaluation and continue to attend AA meetings.
She will serve two days in jail and 28 in the IPP with electronic monitoring. She begins the jail term at 6 p.m. on Sept. 24.
Robert L Smith, 61, of Lehighton, pleaded to one count of DUI. He was arrested on Feb. 26, 2010, along Fourth St, in Lehighton. Given a test, the result was .17 BAC.
Sentencing was deferred.
Arthur Scott Hanman, 42, of Jim Thorpe, pleaded to one count of persistent disorderly conduct. He was arrested on March 13, along Broadway in Jim Thorpe during the annual St. Patrick's Day parade. Hanman admitted being highly intoxicated at the time.
Nanovic placed him on probation for a year and ordered he get a D&A evaluation.
Zachary Hoffman, 23, of Lehighton, pleaded to one count of receiving stolen property. He admitted his part in the theft of a laptop computer and $800 in cash from the home of his parents, Kelly and William Hoffman, N. First St., Lehighton, Mahoning Township.
Hoffman told Nanovic he had a severe heroin addiction program and has spent 30 days in a inpatient facility and continues treatment daily.
Nanovic placed him on probation for a year and ordered a D&A evaluation, zero tolerance on D&A use and continue his treatment program.
Tiffany Jane Scott, 23, of Lehighton, pleaded to one count of theft. She was arrested by Jim Thorpe police for taking the debit card of her aunt, Ellen Driesbach, and using it at Mauch Chunk Trust Company AMT machines.
Scott said she had a heroin addiction but is now seven months clean. She spent 30 days in a treatment facility.
Nanovic placed her on probation for a year and ordered restitution to her aunt of $733, get a D&A evaluation and zero tolerance imposed on D&A use.
Each defendant sentenced must also pay court costs and a $50 per month supervision fee while on probation or parole.