Drug sweep nets three in Tamaqua
KATHY KUNKEL/TIMES NEWS Devon Dillard of Coaldale was one of three defendants arraigned on drug charges Monday in the court of District Judge Stephen Bayer. Dillard was escorted by Tamaqua Patrolman Thomas Rodgers. Rodgers, Patrolman Anthony Stanell, rear, and Chief Richard Weaver conducted a drug sweep in connection with the Schuylkill County Drug Task Force and the office of District Attorney Karen Byrnes-Noon.
Tamaqua Police, as members of the Schuylkill County Drug Task Force, along with officers from the Schuylkill County District Attorney's and sheriff's offices, conducted a drug sweep on Monday, arraigning three people on drug-related charges. The arraignments were held at the office of District Judge Stephen Bayer.
Devon Dillard, 18, of 224 First St., Coaldale, was arraigned on charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of a communications facility. Dillard allegedly sold five baggies of cocaine to a confidential informant on July 18 in the area of the Willing Park Playground at the rear of Cedar Street. Dillard allegedly made a second sale on July 24, in the same area. The arrests were made by Tamaqua Patrolmen Anthony Stanell and Thomas Rodgers.
Judge Bayer set bail at $25,000, percentage, on each set of charges. Unable to post the required $5,000 ($2,500 on each sale), Dillman was transported to the Schuylkill County Prison in Pottsville.
Patricia Merola, 26, of 621 Pardeesville Road, Hazleton, was arraigned on charges of four felony counts of possession with intent to deliver, child endangerment and possession of a controlled substance. Merola allegedly was an accomplice in a drug deal that took place on Sept. 4 in the area of the Tamaqua Public Library, South Railroad Street. Merola and a Christopher Thompson arrived at the scene in an SUV. As undercover officers observed, Thompson was driving the vehicle. Merola handed him a cigarette box, which he in turn sold to a confidential informant. The box contained two bundles, 20 bags, of suspected heroin, instead of cigarettes. The arrests were made by Tamaqua Police Chief Richard Weaver and Officer Stanell.
Merola pleaded with the judge to set a bail that would allow her to remain free until trial, as she is the sole support of three young children.
Bayer set bail at $25,000 unsecured.
An arrest warrant was issued for Thompson after officers were unable to locate him yesterday.
Trevor R. Christman, 19, of 223 East St., Coaldale, was arraigned on charges in connection with three alleged sales - Aug. 21, Sept. 11 and Sept. 12. Two of the incidents took place in the area of the Willing Park, while the third was near the Tamaqua Post Office. All three sales were cocaine. Christman was charged with possession with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of a communications facility.
The judge set bail at $25,000 straight for all three sets of charges and Christman was transported to the county prison.
Following the arraignments, Schuylkill County District Attorney Karen Byrnes-Noon praised officers for their dedicated efforts to stem the tide of drug sales in Schuylkill County.
"Chief Weaver and Officers Rodgers and Stanell, and all the members of drug task force are to be commended for the important work they do in their communities. I'd also like to thank Tamaqua Mayor Chris Morrison and the members of Tamaqua Borough Council for realizing how important this work is. We couldn't do our jobs without their support."