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Another defendant in drug ring sentenced to prison term

Published July 11. 2018 11:10AM

Another defendant charged for his part in the operation of a crystal methamphetamine drug ring in Carbon and Lehigh counties was sentenced to a county prison term on Friday.

Richard E. Moyer, 58, Fritz Valley Road, Lehighton, was sentenced by Judge Steven R. Serfass to serve one day less 12 months to one day less 24 months in prison followed by one year of probation.

Moyer previously pleaded guilty to counts of corrupt organizations and criminal conspiracy — possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

He was one of seven arrested in a drug roundup by agents of the state Attorney General’s office and the county drug task force. Also arrested in the roundup were Susan Annette Rex, 57, of Nesquehoning; Edilberto Ortiz Jr., 45, of Allentown; Holly Ann Eckhart, 50, of Palmerton; Robert David Rex, 58, of Lansford; Connie Serfass, 60, of Lehighton; and Donna Marie Ziegenfuss, 45, of Palmerton.

Drug distribution

According to criminal complaints filed by the AG office in support of the charges, investigators identified Ortiz as a main distributor who supplied six people with methamphetamine. Those people later redistributed the drugs to their customers.

Officials said the activity occurred between January and March 2016.

Investigators used confidential informants for controlled purchases of methamphetamine over the course of the investigation.

More than 4 pounds of methamphetamine were seized from a residence where Ortiz was staying, investigators reported in a criminal complaint.

That search also resulted in the seizure of a .32-caliber handgun, roughly $2,400 and drug paraphernalia.

Searches of other residences resulted in the seizure of various quantities of methamphetamine, cash, digital scales and drug paraphernalia.

Defense attorney Brian J. Collins told Serfass that his client’s participation in the drug operation was due to his drug addiction.

He said since his arrest Moyer has addressed his addiction by going into two inpatient programs run by the Salvation Army.

He said Moyer is drug-free and employed full time. Collins said his client spent a total of 339 days inpatient and jail time to date and should receive credit for it. He asked for a time-served sentence.

Deputy Attorney General Christie F. Bonesch said that while the commonwealth commends Moyer for his efforts to address his drug addiction, additional jail time was warranted.

Serfass said he agreed.

In addition to the prison term, Moyer was ordered to get a drug and alcohol evaluation, supply a DNA sample, zero tolerance for drug or alcohol use, render a total of 200 hours of community service when paroled, pay court costs of about $1,000 and pay a $50 per month supervision fee while on parole and probation.

He was given credit for the 339 days, meaning he has about 25 more days to spend in prison. He will begin the prison term at 9 a.m. on July 9. He was granted work-release privileges.

Ortiz, who was the supplier of the drugs to the ring, pleaded guilty to his part in the operation and is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 2.

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