Two arrested, ending 18-month long drug investigation in Hazleton

Manuel Luna-Bautista, 37, and Yamilka Hernandez-Sanchez, 36, both of Hazleton

Hazleton Police announce a raid at a major heroin and fentanyl manufacturing facility. They say drug kingpins Manuel Luna-Bautista and Yamilka Hernandez-Sanchez, both of Hazleton, were arrested Friday morning after an 18-month long drug investigation.

Officials say the investigation by the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s Scranton Office who worked with the Hazleton Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police and the Luzerne County Drug Task Force.

“DEA’s mission is the coordination and cooperation with state and local law enforcement to reduce the availability of illicit drugs," Mark Gabura, the agent in charge said, “today that coordination enabled us all to shut down this major operation and arrest a major kingpin in Hazleton."

Luna-Bautista was taken into custody at 10 a.m. while getting out of his Hummer on 3rd and Carson Street.

Police say search warrants were then performed at two locations in Hazleton, 1003 Alter Street and 321 E Mine Street.

Agents and detectives found Hernandez-Sanchez packaging heroin for distribution on the 2nd floor of 1003 Alter Street.

Officials seized 300 grams of suspected fentanyl, packaged heroin, alleged methamphetamine, and a 22-caliber handgun from the two locations.

Luna-Bautista had $1,100 on him, which was seized along with his Hummer.

All evidence seized will be processed through the Luzerne County Drug Task Force.

“The arrest of Luna-Bautista and Hernandez-Sanchez will take a bite out of the local heroin and deadly fentanyl supply and should send a message to the community we are and will continue to take action in Hazleton," said Hazleton Police Chief Jerry Speziale.

Luna-Bautista, 37, and Hernandez-Sanchez, 36, were transported to Hazleton Police Headquarters for processing.

Both will be faced with federal drug charges and arraigned before a federal magistrate in Wilkes-Barre.

Mayor Jeff Cusat said he was proud of the men and woman that put their lives on the line every day to make the country and Hazleton safer.

“Think about the amount of lives that will probably be saved and the amount of violence that’s prevented by shutting this operation down in our city," Mayor Cusat said.

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