Carbon man on trial on drug charges
A Carbon County man went on trial Tuesday in the county court on three drug counts stemming from an incident in April 2011. A person he is accused of selling an illegal drug to died.
Donato A. Farole, 23, of Lehighton, is charged with two counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and one count of possession. The two counts of deliver are felonies and the one count of possession is a misdemeanor.
Farole is accused of selling a 40 mg Opana pill to Brett Flexer, 20, of Lehighton. The sale was allegedly made at a party held in Mahoning Township on the night of April 22 into April 23. Flexer died on April 23 at his home. Opana is a pain-killing drug.
Farole is not charged with the death of Flexer but in connection with selling him a narcotic.
A jury panel of five men and seven women heard testimony from six commonwealth witnesses yesterday, four of them high school classmates of Farole and Flexer, three of which attended the party. Two police officers also testified.
Assistant District Attorney William E. McDonald is prosecuting the case and his first three witnesses attended the party.
Russell Balogach, of Lehighton, said he was at the party, which was attended by 40-45 individuals. He said he was drinking alcohol at he party and knew both Farole and Flexer as classmates at Lehighton High School.
He said he heard a conversation between Farole and Flexer in which the defendant had a drug for sale. He said later Flexer showed him a pill he had purchased.
He also said the next morning Farole called him and asked him not to say anything about the pill he gave Flexer at the party. He said Farole and he had already heard that Flexer had died.
Under cross examination by defense Attorney John Waldron, of Allentown, Balogach admitted he did not see Farole give Flexer a pill or any exchange of money between the defendant and Flexer.
He also said he received the call from Farole on April 23 about 3 p.m.
Anthony Bekesy, also of Lehighton, testified he was at the party. He said he saw Farole and Flexer together in an upstairs area of the home and he also saw Flexer give Farole money.
He said later he, Flexer, and Zachary Swint went outside to Swint's car. He said they crushed the Opana pill Flexer had and each one did a "line" of the drug by snorting it up their noses. He said he returned to the party with Flexer but later fell asleep.
Under questioning by Waldron, Bekesy said he gave a written statement to police but in the statement he never mentioned anything about seeing Flexer give Farole any money and did not actually see Farole give Flexer any pills.
Swint testified in support of the testimony of Bekesy that the three did snort lines of the drug in his vehicle. His testimony mirrored that of Bekesy about how the pill was crushed. However, he said all three each snorted two lines apiece. He said after they were done he left in his vehicle and did not return to the party.
All three also admitted under questioning that they have never been charged with any criminal offenses in connection in the case.
All three also said they identified the pill Flexer had that night from a photo shown to them by police.
Anthony Pudah, of Lehighton, testified on the morning of April 22 he met Farole in the parking lot near the McDonald's Restaurant in the township and drove him to Brooklyn, N.Y. He said they went to New York so Farole could purchase some pills. He said he gave Farole $200 for 10 pills.
He said in New York Farole exited the car, went into a building and returned with a pill bottle. He said Farole gave him 10 pills and the rest he placed in the bottle and put that into a bag. They then returned to Lehighton.
He said Farole told him about the party that night but he did not attend it.
Pudah also said he has not been arrested in connection with any illegal drug dealing.
Officer Tyler Meek, who filed the charges, testified about the three prior witnesses picking out the pill in question from a photo shown to them. He also said Balogach, Bekesy, and Swint have not been charged, but also added they had not been offered anything in exchange for their testimony.
Meek said police responded to the Flexer home about 7:15 p.m. on April 23, 2011, when he was found by family members.
The commonwealth is expected to conclude its case this morning. The defendant is expected to testify in the case.
The trial is before Judge Steven R. Serfass.