Thursday, 7 February 2008

Venango and Crawford counties drug Bust

Eighteen people from Venango and Crawford counties are facing drug-related charges following a 10-month grand jury investigation into the trafficking and sale of prescription pain medications in the area.
Randy Boal is charged with one count of criminal conspiracy, eight counts of delivery of a controlled substance and eight counts of possession of a controlled substance.
Diana Boal is charged with one count each of criminal conspiracy, delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.
McFall is charged with one count of criminal conspiracy, three counts of delivery of a controlled substance and three counts of possession of a controlled substance.
McDivitt is charged with one count of criminal conspiracy, two counts of delivery of a controlled substance and three counts of possession of a controlled substance.
Other people charged include:
* Emily Boal, 19, of Cochranton, charged with one count each of criminal conspiracy, delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.
* Amanda Boal, 23, of Cochranton, charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance.
* Sherri Choffel, 41, of Knox, charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
* Mark L. Krizon, 42, of 14241/2 A Chestnut St., Franklin, charged with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
* Krystal D. Scheffer, 19, of 311 Fifth St., Franklin, charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
* William J. Exley Jr., 40, of Kennerdell, charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
* Rebelle Deeter, 27, of Cooperstown, charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
* Charles L. Girty, 50, of 138 Causeway Drive, Franklin, charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance and two counts of possession of a controlled substance.
* Scott A. Steetle, 46, an inmate at SCI Albion, charged with one count each of delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.
* Brice Steetle, 47, 1433 Otter St., Franklin, charged with one count each of delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.
* Douglas R. Titus, 42, of 39 F Murdock St., Franklin, charged with two counts each of delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance.
* Brian E. Gallagher, 45, of Cooperstown, charged with one count of delivery of a controlled substance.
* Robert A. Fox, 38, of 720 Liberty St., Franklin, charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance.
* Pamela K. Sloss, 39, of Utica, charged with one count each of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Preliminary hearings for some of the defendants have been scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 15 in Venango County Central Court.
Several suspects in the drug ring, which involved the illegal distribution and sale of OxyContin, morphine, Percocet and other pain medications in northwestern Pennsylvania communities, were rounded up by police and arraigned by District Judge Douglas Gerwick Wednesday at the Venango County Courthouse.
Agents from the Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation estimate a total of $200,000 worth of prescription drugs were distributed and sold through the network during the course of the investigation. That breaks down to about $20,000 worth of drugs per month.
The investigation involved attorney general agents as well as officers from police departments in Sugarcreek, Oil City, Franklin, Edinboro, Cambridge Springs, Cochranton and Polk.
The prescription drug ring investigation sprang from an earlier probe into heroin trafficking between Pittsburgh and the northwestern part of the state, according to a press release from the attorney general's office. In the release, Attorney General Tom Corbett said six Crawford County and Pittsburgh residents were arrested on Jan. 25 in connection with an alleged Pittsburgh-to-Conneaut Lake heroin network.
"The abuse of prescription drugs like OxyContin and illegal drugs like heroin often goes hand-in-hand in communities all across our state," Corbett said in the release. "The highly addictive nature of both drugs drives addicts to whatever sources are available to provide their nest 'high,' whether that involves buying and selling prescriptions and pills, or trafficking in bulk quantities of heroin."
Authorities say members of the organization illegally bought and sold prescriptions on a regular basis.
Individuals who had legally received prescriptions from doctors for the medications allegedly sold them to people who did not. OxyContin pills reportedly fetched between $35 and $75, depending on the strength of the dosage.
Authorities say central figures in the operation included a Crawford County couple, Randy Boal, 50, and Diana Boal, 47, both of 247 McCune Road, Cochranton. Also pinpointed by authorities as leaders in the ring were Jerome McFall, 44, of Franklin and Charles McDivitt, 49, who is currently being held in the Venango County jail.
the grand jury determined drug deals were conducted in parking lots of various businesses in and around Franklin as well as at the Boals' Cochranton home, which the couple shared with two other family members who were also charged following the investigation, according to Corbett's office.

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