Officials bust heroin pipeline valued at $7.8M in Altoona, Johnstown
HOLLIDAYSBURG —Sixteen drug dealers were charged for operating a ring that sold 780,000 bags of heroin in Blair and Cambria counties worth an estimated $7.8 million over a 13-month period, officials said Monday.
The ring also sold cocaine worth $1.9 million as well.
A statewide investigating grand jury identified Damon “Fat Cat” Devine, 40, of North 60th Street, Philadelphia, as the main target of the investigation by the Office of Attorney General, the district attorneys of Blair, Cambria and Montgomery counties, Altoona and Johnstown police, Pennsylvania State Police and the Blair and Cambria County drug task forces.
“This investigation involved dealers who transported large amounts of heroin and cocaine from Philadelphia to Altoona and Johnstown,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference outside the Blair County Courthouse. “Our work with District Attorney (Rich) Consiglio and other state and local law enforcement agencies led to the dismantling of a major drug pipeline into Blair and Cambria counties. We will remain merciless with the dealers peddling these poisons in our communities.”
The investigation revealed the Devine ring sold heroin that was stamped “Dragon” on the bags because it was more potent than other heroin sold in Altoona or Johnstown.
Overall, investigators seized 14,890 bags of heroin with an estimated street value of nearly $150,000 during their probe, in addition to nearly a half-pound of cocaine.
In addition to ring leader Devine, the following defendants are charged with possessing with intent to distribute narcotics, conspiracy and related charges:
• Aaron Beard, 50, of 19th Street, Altoona
• Melissa Coleman, 43, of Stackhouse Street, Johnstown
• James Everett-Bey, 40, of Hunter Street, Philadelphia
• Richard Govier, 39, of W Main Street, Stoystown
• Kristy Hicks, 38, of 29th Street, Altoona
• Kara Kirby-Horner, 35, of Campbell Avenue, Johnstown
• Blaine Jackson, 40, of Chandler Avenue, Johnstown
• Jaime Madden, 52, of Franklin Street, Johnstown
• Jasmine McGowan, 27, of Cypress Avenue, Johnstown
• James Miller, 28, of Ihmsen Avenue, Johnstown
• Jabu Robinson, 37, of W Wyneva Street, Philadelphia
• Phillip Stevens, 30, of Cherry Avenue, Altoona
• Travis Taylor, 39, of 1st Avenue, Altoona
• Brieon Thurston, 35, of Lenhart Street, Johnstown
• Barbara Tyler, 58, of Greenwood Avenue, Trenton, New Jersey