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Ashfield man allegedly had 160 bags of heroin in car

Published October 18. 2012 05:01PM

An Ashfield man who allegedly convinced his girlfriend and conspired with her to stab his grandmother last month in East Penn Township is in some more trouble.

Jacob Gordon Wertman, 23, was arraigned yesterday on charges related to him having 160 baggies of heroin in his car - 140 in a container and 20 underneath his stomach.

There were three passengers in the car when the heroin was found, according to police documents. One of the occupants was a child young enough to be in a car seat.

Wertman has been charged with four counts of the Controlled Substance, Drug Device, and Cosmetic Act; two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance, careless driving, general lighting requirements, restraint systems, and endangering welfare of children.

He was arraigned before District Judge Edward Lewis of Jim Thorpe who set bail at 10 percent of $10,000. Wertman is presently lodged in the Carbon County Correctional Facility.

He is facing multiple charges related to the Sept. 24 stabbing incident. They include conspiracy - criminal homicide, two counts of aggravated assault, two counts of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, and two counts of simple assault.

On the Sept. 24 charges, bail has been set at $500,000.

Wertman and the girlfriend, Amber Lynn Steigerwalt, 19, of Lehighton, alleged waited in an area of the house for his grandmother to return from work. When she did, Wertman allegedly gave Steigerwalt a knife and told her he was not sure he could do it because the grandmother had raised him when he was young.

Steigerwalt allegedly stabbed the woman in the neck with a paring knife.

A hearing for both Wertman and Steigerwalt regarding the stabbing incident is scheduled for this afternoon before District Judge William Kissner of Palmerton.

The hearing for the new charges are tentatively scheduled before Lewis next Wednesday.

The new charges stem from a traffic stop which happened at about 1:15 a.m. on May 27 on Sgt. Stanley Hoffman Boulevard in Lehighton by Trooper Michael Walsh of the Lehighton barracks of the Pa. state police.

Trooper Walsh stopped the vehicle because a brake light allegedly was not working.

Wertman was reported as the driver of the vehicle. Steigerwalt was a passenger.

There was an adult and a child in the back seat of the car.

The affidavit filed by Trooper Walsh states, "Wertman was not wearing his seatbelt. He was extremely nervous. He began to breathe very heavy and sweat profusely. His forehead was soaked with sweat as I engaged in conversation with him. I observed 'track marks' on his arms. His pupils were constricted. His eyes were bloodshot and glassy. His voice was slow, low, and raspy."

Wertman agreed to let Trooper Walsh search his vehicle. The state trooper says he found a container in which were 140 baggies of heroin. The affidavit says the heroin "was packaged in 'bundles' and then into 'bricks.'"

The affidavit says Wertman took full responsibility for the heroin.

Later, two additional bundles - or 20 bags - of heroin were found on Wertman, the affidavit says.

As Wertman was being processed, he then told police that some of the heroin belonged to another passenger in the car.

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