Police find drugs, man asks for his guns before car is towed
A Lehigh County man is in prison following a traffic stop in Mahoning Township.
Kevin O’Neill, 50, of Bethlehem, faces charges on three counts of unlawful possession of a controlled substance; two counts of unlawful delivery or manufacture of a controlled substance; and one count each of prohibited offensive weapon, possession of drug paraphernalia; DUI — controlled substance; operation following suspension of registration; and driving while operating privilege is suspended or revoked.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by patrolman Bruce Broyles of the Lehighton Borough Police Department:
At 2:35 a.m. Oct. 8, Broyles was traveling eastbound on Route 443 when he noticed there was an active suspension for the vehicle.
Broyles was able to get behind the red Mercury Grand Marquis, and initiated on 443 near South Ninth Street.
Broyles asked the driver, identified as O’Neill, for his license, but he was only able to provide him with a Pennsylvania Identification Card and an insurance card for the vehicle. O’Neill assured Broyles he possessed a valid driver’s license.
Broyles said O’Neill had unusually glassed-over and bloodshot eyes. He spoke with slow speech and a raspy voice; and appeared to be sweaty and lethargic. Broyles confirmed that O’Neill possessed a suspended driver’s license.
Officer Frank Buonaiuto came to assist him.
Broyles asked O’Neill to get out of the car and discovered two knives in a pat down.
Broyles told O’Neill his vehicle would be towed, and asked him if there was anything Broyles needed to be aware of inside the vehicle. O’Neill said there were two shotguns inside the car in the trunk, and asked if he could take them with him when the car was towed. Broyles said no.
O’Neill asked if he could take other items of personal property.
While recovering some belongings, O’Neill went to the trunk to remove a brown leather bag. Buonaiuto saw a handgun in plain view within a compartment of the bag. They ordered O’Neill away from the bag.
Buonaiuto removed the handgun from the bag, and saw several items of drug paraphernalia, electronic scales and plastic bags.
O’Neill and his passenger were taken into custody.
Charges are pending against the passenger, who has yet to be named.
A search of the vehicle was then conducted, and located in the brown leather bag were a large quantity of methamphetamine and cocaine, packaged in plastic bags; a plastic bag of waxine bags, which were consistent with that of heroin/fentanyl; a smaller yellow plastic bag possessing methamphetamine; as well as a smaller clear plastic bag of cocaine.
Several electronic scales were located, as well as multiple different colored plastic bags commonly used for packaging. A Bubble Wrap pouch was located, which contained several glass smoking devices, several of which did possess narcotic residue and/or burn markings.
Two shotguns were recovered from the trunk area, one of which appeared to be sawed off and shorter than the required length of 18 inches.
Both men were carrying a large amount of cash. The male passenger was carrying a yellow plastic bag of methamphetamine.
O’Neill said he didn’t sell drugs but did provide some for friends. Broyles asked him about the packaging materials and scales recovered, where he stated such was to carry his drugs and ensure he does not get “ripped off.”
O’Neill did tell Broyles that he provided the male passenger with his bag of methamphetamine, and that the heroin was not his.
Broyles also questioned O’Neill about the multiple firearms, to which he said he purchased all from the same man at one time, and that the handgun was never transferred properly because he was not aware it was required.
The methamphetamine was weighed and totaled about 18.7 grams. Broyles also weighed the cocaine, which totaled about 22.9 grams. Further, Broyles did measure the length of the shotgun, which was confirmed to be about 13 inches. The suspected heroin/fentanyl was not removed from its packaging for safety purposes.
O’Neill is currently incarcerated in the Carbon County Correctional Facility in lieu of $50,000 bail.
O’Neill is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing at 3:45 p.m. Oct. 17 before District Judge Eric Schrantz of Jim Thorpe.