Attorney general: 72 drug dealers arrested in Blair County roundup
Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Monday announced criminal charges against 72 people for allegedly selling heroin, illegal prescription opioids, cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, crack, bath salts and other drugs in Blair County, including two Somerset County residents.
Shapiro said it was the ninth major drug sweep in the county since he took office in January 2017.
“My Office has been focused on keeping drug dealers out of communities in the Altoona region since I was sworn in as Attorney General,” Shapiro said in a press release. “After the first sweep in this area, I promised to remain vigilant and keep coming back to prosecute people peddling this poison in Altoona and Blair Counties — and I’ve kept that commitment. We’ll continue working with our law enforcement partners to keep this region safe.”
The charges are the result of a yearlong investigation involving the Office of Attorney General, Blair County Drug Task Force, Blair County District Attorney’s Office and Altoona Police Department. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement made approximately 80 controlled purchases using undercover officers and agents. Many of the arrests were for individuals selling Suboxone, a drug used to treat opioid addiction and prevent painful withdrawal symptoms.
“Nearly half of the drug dealers arrested today were selling Suboxone. This demonstrates the use of Suboxone to either supplement or obtain heroin. Thus, the Suboxone traffic goes hand in hand with opioid addiction in this area and around the state and the county,” Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio said in the release.
Among those charged were Ashley Miller, 29, of Crestwood Drive, Hooversville, and Katrena Hambley, 30, of Broadway Street, Rockwood, according to Shapiro. Their specific charges were not immediately available.
The defendants will be arraigned before Blair County District Judges Fred Miller and Andrew Blattenberger and will be prosecuted by Consiglio’s office.