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Men face charges after trading guns for heroin

Published August 09. 2018 12:54PM

Two men, one from Dauphin County and the other from New Jersey, are facing charges after they told police they traded guns for heroin.

Christopher Garcia, 30, of Middletown, faces charges on one count each of firearms not to be carried without a license; possession with intent to manufacture or deliver; and criminal conspiracy.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by officer Shawn Leadbetter of the Palmerton Police Department:

At 3:33 a.m. Aug. 5, Leadbetter was dispatched to the 700 block of West Princeton Avenue for a welfare check.

Before arriving on scene, Leadbetter received further information that there was a woman at that location possibly being held against her will and that a firearm was involved.

Leadbetter saw the woman was visibly upset on the front porch of the home.

She told him that a vehicle just left her residence, there was a gun inside the vehicle and that the man was out of his mind and had threatened to use it in the past.

The woman told Leadbetter that the vehicle, a Chevrolet hatchback, was headed toward Route 895 and going back to Hershey.

Leadbetter was able to catch up with the vehicle on Route 895 in East Penn Township.

Leadbetter waited for backup and conducted a safety stop on the vehicle in West Penn Township.

With the assistance of the West Penn Police Department and the Lehighton Police Department, he took two men into investigative detention.

The driver was identified as Garcia, and the passenger was identified as Frank Trotta IV, 28, of Lindenwood, New Jersey.

Leadbetter searched the car, and saw several white waxen packets with rubber bands wrapped in a red box on the center consoles.

The packets were suspected to be heroin.

Leadbetter also found a silver Hopkins and Allen .380 revolver hidden inside the passenger seat cushion.

Garcia said he had possession of three guns earlier in the night when he was picked up at his residence in Middletown.

Garcia was trying to get rid of the firearms because he did not want them in his house anymore due to his daughter living with him.

Garcia and Trotta both went to Hazleton earlier in the evening where they met with unknown sources, and traded two handguns for 300 baggies of heroin.

The the third gun, a .380-caliber silver revolver, was still in their possession when they went to the woman’s residence in Palmerton.

Trotta and the woman got into a verbal argument outside of the residence, while Garcia and Trotta left the area.

Trotta tried to hide the silver revolver inside the passenger seat cushion when he saw the police behind them on 895.

It was found that Garcia and Trotta do not have a valid conceal carry permit in any state.

The white baggies found in the vehicle were field tested, and tested positive for heroin.

The total net weight of baggies that were packaged for distribution was 0.50 grams.

It was determined that Garcia had no valid driver’s license and a suspended driver’s license in Pennsylvania.

Garcia and Trotta are both currently lodged in the Carbon County Correctional Facility in lieu of $750,000, 10 percent bail.

Both are scheduled to have their preliminary hearings at 10:45 a.m. Aug. 15 before District Judge William Kissner of Palmerton.

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