DRUG CRISIS: "Operation Outfoxed" suspects in court
WILKES-BARRE (WOLF) -- We have an update to "Operation Outfoxed." Last month, the Attorney General's office busted more members of an alleged drug ring in Wilkes-Barre.
Today, about 30 suspects were in court before District Judge Joseph Spagnuolo, who held court at the Luzerne County Courthouse.
The suspects are some of the people that the attorney general says "infected" Wilkes-Barre and the valley by selling $1 million in heroin and crack cocaine in the past year.
A police report says the investigation started last November, identifying Brian Francis, 35, nicknamed "Fox," as the main dealer.
The affidavit states Francis would reportedly go to New York in a convoy of vehicles, and never travel in the car with the money or the drugs. Then, he would come back using the conspirators to sell the drugs.
Francis was believed to be the leader of a Crips gang in the Wilkes-Barre area, the report said.
In wiretapped calls, agents say they heard suspects using code, saying things like, "I got four movies and nine candy left," referring to heroin, and crack cocaine. Another code word for crack was "cookies."
Police say one site of drug sales was at 80 N. Hancock Street, in a second-floor rear apartment, which was rented by suspect Robert Scorey at the time. Neighbors are glad about the round-up.
"It's about time that they start breaking down on the people that's selling the drugs, because it's running rampant around here," says neighbor Steven Sliwinski.
According to the voluminous report by the AG's drug investigators, many of the drug buys occurred at local hotels, including the Quality Inn, Host, Red Roof Inn, and Woodspring in the Kidder Street/Route 315 area.
In the affidavit, police say someone told Francis that "your body work is top notch," referring to crack, and: "You own the whole valley."
Police say a wiretap on Francis's phone from June to August, authorized by a state Superior Court judge, helped net all the suspects.
Police say Francis's "stash house" was here on 270-272 East Northampton St., where an informant said he used one-half to cook crack and package heroin, and the other half for his wife and her sister to live in.
A man who said he was the landlord pulled up and told us it's difficult to control your renters, because a woman can move in to an apartment, and later quietly have her boyfriend move in.
The judge's office says four suspects waived their preliminary hearings on Thursday. The rest need to get attorneys, and their hearings were continued to new dates in a few weeks.
Agents say another Francis "stash house" was at an apartment at 199 Old River Road.
"Francis and 13 conspirators were arrested in August and charged with various offenses. Office of Attorney General agents, working with local police and the Luzerne County DA’s Office, charged 36 additional defendants, bringing the total number of arrests to 50 connected to this drug ring.
22 dealers face felony charges including corrupt organizations, conspiracy, and possession with intent to deliver. They will be prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General:
John Chopyak, 50, Mill Street, Pittston
Brian Costello, 41, Northview Avenue, Harveys Lake
Kendra Fuller, 33, Scott Street, Wilkes-Barre
David Kusma, 47, West Sperling Street, West Wyoming
Victoria Masi, 50, Meyers Street, Edwardsville
Diana Mecadon, 47, Church Street, Pittston
Luke Mikush, 32, Hanover Street, Wilkes-Barre
Patrice Neville, 40, Capouse Avenue, Scranton
Lisa Nicholas, 56, Summit Street, Edwardsville
Karen Novak, 56, East Columbus Avenue, Pittston
James Osticco, 50, John Street, Pittston
Brian Pillonato, 51, Linden Street, Scranton
Bruce Pinkney, 49, Price Street, Kingston
Charles Plummer, 70, Dougher Lane, Wilkes-Barre
Robert Scorey, 52, North Hancock Street, Wilkes-Barre
Jamie Skursky, 45, Bear Creek Road, Dupont
Michelle Snyder, 40, South 4th Street, Hughesville
Eric Sommers, 26, North Market Street, Glen Lyon
Shawn Soska, 33, Swallow Street, Pittston
Arthur Thomas, 53, West Hollenback Avenue, Wilkes-Barre
Frederick Thomason, 57, Scott Street, Wilkes-Barre
Meiki Williams, 20, Old River Road, Wilkes-Barre
14 other defendants were charged with solicitation to deliver controlled substances and possession. They will be prosecuted by the Luzerne County District Attorney:
Sean Carrill, 26, Main Street, Archbald
Edward Casella, 36, Hurley Street, Wilkes-Barre
John Cole, 33, North Pennsylvania Avenue, Wilkes-Barre
Robert Godlewski, 45, Maxwell Street, Wilkes-Barre
Derek Heater, 29, Monroe Avenue, Dunmore
Francis Kelly, 39 Cedar Avenue, Scranton
Nicole Kendreth, 33, Maxwell Street, Wilkes-Barre
Ashley Myers, 22, Cemetery Road, Wapwallopen
Bryan Oberdorf, 41, Wight Avenue, Kingston
Kelly Rowan, 38, Liberty Street, Pittston
Shawn Sakowski, 45, North Main Street, Mountaintop
Joseph Sciandra, 49, Exeter Avenue, West Pittston
Cynthia Tucker, 49, Mullen Hollow Road, Birdsboro
Jennifer Williams, 39, Campground Road, West Pittston
Francis is charged with corrupt organizations – a first-degree felony, criminal conspiracy to delivery cocaine and heroin and manufacture with intent to deliver controlled substances.
Other defendants are charged with manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance and related charges:
Derrick Bynum, 34, of Linden Blvd, Brooklyn, NY
Karon “Mad Dog” Varick, 25, of Farragut Rd, Brooklyn, NY
Jordan “Rambo” or “Scrams” Stacy, 21, of N. Franklin St, Wilkes-Barre
Andrew Pope, 39, of Logan St, Wilkes-Barre
Brian “Dread” Jackson, 53, of Travel Lodge Motel, Wilkes-Barre
John “Domo” Doe, Age and Address Unknown
Ras “Dollar” Johnson, 20, of S. Hancock St, Wilkes-Barre
Kyle Patterson, 23, of Main St, Avoca
Maura Kathio, 28, of Stout St, Yatesville
Angela Thomas, 43, of N. Walnut St, Luzerne
Three defendants were charged with criminal conspiracy:
Taurean Kemp, 33, Address Unknown
Raheem “Free” Richardson, 30, of Hillside Ave, Edwardsville
Christopher Mark, 32, of Spring St, Wilkes-Barre "