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Merenda is still facing charges

Published June 13. 2018 11:12PM

Schuylkill County jury on Tuesday found Kyle J. Merenda, 23, of Barnesville, not guilty of drug delivery resulting in death in the fatal overdose of Alexandria “Alex” Sienkiewicz on April 2, 2016.

But Merenda didn’t walk away a free man.

He’s still in the county jail under $25,000 cash bail on charges that he sold fentanyl to an undercover agent on Dec. 18, 2017.

Two felony charges of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance; a felony charge of criminal use of communication facility; and a misdemeanor charge of possession of a controlled substance by person not registered were filed by state police at Reading on May 30.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11:20 a.m. June 20.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed with District Judge Christina E. Hale of Frackville by Trooper Scott M. Grochowski and Detective Troy S. Greenawald, here’s how the incident unfolded.

A reliable and experienced confidential informant told the troopers in December that Merenda “is involved in the trafficking of narcotics, specifically heroin/fentanyl, throughout Schuylkill County.”

On Dec. 18, 2017, the informant used a cellphone to arrange to buy drugs from Merenda.

The informant was searched by troopers and given cash to make the buy.

Merenda told the informant to meet him in Ryan Township. The informant went there, accompanied by an undercover officer and watched by troopers and other law enforcement officers.

As the undercover officer watched, the informant gave Merenda the money and Merenda gave the informant the drugs. Testing revealed they were fentanyl.

On Jan. 12, Merenda was charged by Hazleton police with three felony charges of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, and one count each of intent to possess a controlled substance by a person not registered and use/possession of drug paraphernalia on Jan. 11.

A preliminary Hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday on those charges at the Luzerne County courthouse.

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