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Former Lansford councilman, girlfriend sentenced in drug dealing case

It took almost four years for a former Lansford councilman and his girlfriend to come before a judge and be sentenced in a drug-dealing case which resulted in the arrest of six other people on drug charges.

Matthew Walsh, 36, and Danielle Grochowski, 44, both of Pocono Lake, were placed in a special probation on Tuesday in Carbon County court by Judge Joseph J. Matika for their cooperation with the state attorney general’s office the past four years in other drug-related investigations that resulted in the arrest of numerous other people.

Matika noted that as a result of the cooperation of Walsh and Grochowski, numerous drug dealers were taken off the street.

He also noted that the dealers were “bigger fish” well up the chain of dealers in the commonwealth.

Defense attorney Edward M. Olexa said his clients’ cooperation with the AG office was the reason it took so long for them to come before the court. There were 21 continuances in the case, all due to them working for the AG in other investigations.

Deputy Attorney General Michelle Ann Hardik, confirmed what Olexa said, noting the cooperation of the two did lead to the arrest and conviction of numerous drug dealers.

Walsh said he got addicted to painkillers, which led to him getting involved in the drug trafficking business. He and Grochowski obtained the drugs for personal use and sold them to get more drugs for themselves.

Walsh told the court, “I’m not proud of what I’ve done. I wish I could take it back.”

The two entered pleas to one count each to possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and corrupt organization.

Case history

The two were arrested on Nov. 1, 2017, after a search warrant was served on their Lansford residence along West Ridge Street. The arrests were part of an ongoing investigation of illegal drug distribution conducted by the Attorney General’s office, county drug task force and Lansford police. Walsh served on council since January 2016, and resigned his position after his arrest.

As a result of the search warrant, a number of items consistent with drug trafficking were located and seized, including 59 oxycodone tablets, eight fentanyl patches, eight Adderall tablets, 165 grams of marijuana, assorted empty prescription pill bottles, numerous other unidentified tablets and pills, an electronic scale, one .357 Magnum handgun and $1,072. Those items were found at Walsh Precious Metals, located at 28 W. Ridge St., where search and seizure warrants were served.

Police then went to his residence. There they arrested Grochowski and seized empty pill bottles, 31 unidentified tablets and pills, 11 assorted rifles, pistols and shotguns and a small amount of marijuana.

While in custody, both said they have been “working together” with one another during the past six months to acquire oxycodone, Adderall, fentanyl, marijuana and other controlled substances from various people.

After the arrest of Walsh and Grochowski, agents of the AG’s office arrested six people with supplying pills, including opiates, to Walsh.

Arrested were Eileen Patricia Hargett, Ellen Lee Crowell, Janet Mary Martino, Michael Vincent Crowell, Nina Renee.

They were all accused of supplying prescription pills, including oxycodone, to Walsh and Grochowski. The pills were prescribed to the defendants for legitimate reasons, but the Attorney General’s Office said they illegally sold them to Walsh and Grochowski.

Each were charged with one felony count each of possession with intent to deliver, participating in a corrupt organization and related charges.

Each have since pleaded guilty to counts related to the investigation and have been sentenced by the court.

Matika said because of their cooperation in other investigation and the resulting arrests he would go along with the recommendation to place the two in the Restrictive Conditions of Probation program (house arrest with electronic monitoring).

He placed both in the program for three years with each having to serve 30 days in jail followed by eight months on electronic monitoring and then the rest of the time on regular probation conditions, render 100 hours each of community service, get both drug and alcohol and mental health evaluations, supply a DNA samples, pay court costs of over $1,000 each and each pay a $50 per month supervision fee while in the program. The program will be monitored by the Monroe County adult probation office.

Walsh was given credit for seven days spent in jail on the charges and will begin serving the remaining 23 days in jail on Nov. 4 at 9 a.m.

Grochowski was given credit for 14 days spent in jail on the charges and will begin serving the remaining 16 days on Dec. 1 at 9 a.m.