Calif. man faces trial on drug, gun charges
A man accused of bringing illegal weapons with him to a Belle Vernon residence was ordered Friday to stand trial in Fayette County Court.
Frank Gillon Jr., 24, of Cathedral, Calif., appeared Friday for a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Jesse Cramer in Belle Vernon.
Gillon is charged with 20 counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, three counts of cruelty to animals; two counts of convict/other person not to possess a firearm; and single counts of possession of a firearm with altered or obliterated serial number, possession of a prohibited offensive weapon, and possession of small amount of marijuana.
Cramer dismissed a count of endangering the welfare of children, because there was not sufficient proof Frank Gillon was a caretaker for co-defendant Kayla Kathleen Creamer's 7-year-old son.
Charges were filed after Southwest Regional Police were summoned Aug. 7 to the area of 310-C Market St. in Belle Vernon for a report of three large dogs left in a car with insufficient ventilation.
Patricia Gillon, who at the time lived at 310-C Market St., testified that Frank Gillon was not at the house when the guns were found. She is Frank Gillon's stepmother.
Based on that testimony, Fayette County Public Defender Jeffrey Whiteko argued for the dismissal of most of the charges.
Creamer, who waived her right to a preliminary hearing May 17 on the same charges, is free on bond and was in the courtroom Friday.
Patricia Gillon testified that Creamer and Frank Gillon arrived at her home Aug. 3.
Not home at the time, Patricia Gillon said she gave permission for her neighbor to allow police armed with a search warrant inside 310-C after investigators allegedly found suspected marijuana-growing paraphernalia during a routine inventory of the vehicle after the dogs were seized by Fayette County SPCA.
In the car, police allegedly found fertilizer, high-wattage light bulbs, directions for growing plants and fans, rolling papers and a glass jar containing suspected marijuana.
“That car was the vessel for the whole thing,” Southwest Regional Police Chief John Hartman said. “We found the suspected growing items that led us to get a search warrant for the house. It was one thing leading to another thing.”
Southwest Regional Lt. Steven Schwartz testified that he observed a large container with a blue tarp, dirt and shovels, which are commonly used in marijuana-growing operations.
In the house, police discovered an unloaded .410-gauge shotgun with the serial number obliterated, a 20-gauge shotgun and several boxes of ammunition, most of which were hidden inside a toy box, Schwartz testified.
Investigators searching the house also allegedly found three large light fixtures; a bong allegedly used for smoking marijuana; hydroponic growing equipment; a machete; three boxes of 20-gauge ammunition; a 550-count box of .22-caliber ammunition; a box of .357-caliber ammunition; a box of .380-caliber ammunition, various .410-caliber shotgun shells and a small amount of marijuana.
Schwartz testified he was able to confirm Gillon Jr. was wanted by the Trenton Police Department in Tennessee.
“I was able to verify the defendant's identity through pictures found on memory cards, as well as through his Facebook page, which also had his picture,” Schwartz testified.
Patricia Gillon allegedly said in a written statement that Frank Gillon and Creamer moved the alleged illegal items into the residence and that the couple indicated the items found were used to grow marijuana.
She testified that Frank Gillon asked her what happened to his guns, to which she replied that they were seized by police. According to an affidavit of probable cause, Patricia Gillon stated that Frank Gillon admitted a sawed-off shotgun was his, that he bought it in California and planned to sell it in Pennsylvania.
Schwartz testified that Frank Gillon called the police station to ask why the car was being seized. Schwartz said he could come to the police station to talk about it, but Frank Gillon never appeared.
Frank Gillon was ultimately taken into custody in the state of California by the U.S. Marshal's Service and extradited to Pennsylvania. He was being held in the Fayette County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bond. He will be formally arraigned July 18.
Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2667.