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Police arrest suspected dealers in Westmoreland, Indiana counties

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Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, 12:39 p.m.
 

Officers on a drug task force serving 18 arrest warrants for alleged drug sales believe a snowstorm helped them out Thursday.

“The snow may have worked out well for the officers, because people weren't moving around too much and were staying put,” Latrobe police Chief Jim Bumar said.

“I can't say enough about the 35 officers from eight different departments in the county, the county adult probation office and the attorney general's office who assisted in this effort today, despite the weather conditions,” Bumar said.

Bumar said 18 of 21 suspected “mid-level to low-level” dealers of heroin and prescription drugs were picked up by noon.

“The arrests were the result of undercover drug buys over the last three or four months. Eighty percent of the arrests were for heroin sales, and 20 percent were for prescription drug sales,” he said.

Terrance R. Jones, 18, of Derry Township was arrested in his first-period class at Derry Area High School, where he is a senior.

Derry Borough police said they used a confidential informant to purchase seven stamp bags of heroin from Jones for $90 at the Sunoco Pit Stop along Route 982, near the high school, on Nov. 3, an affidavit said.

Jones was arraigned before Derry District Judge Mark Bilik on two counts each of possession, manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance and one count of possession. He was jailed in the Westmoreland County Prison after failing to post $20,000 bond.

In Latrobe, city police used a confidential informant to set up an alleged heroin purchase in the parking lot outside Adams Memorial Library on Nov. 19. According to affidavits filed before Unity District Judge Michael Mahady, Blake Quakenbush, 19, of Latrobe, told the informant he was at the library and suggested meeting in the lot.

The informant found Quakenbush in a car with Amber A. Karpesky, 18, of the Kingston area of Derry Township, according to an affidavit. Karpesky opened her purse, retrieved seven stamp bags of heroin and handed them to the informant after Quakenbush was paid $110, police said.

Latrobe Officer Michael Wigand alleges an informant set up a deal Oct. 28 with Quakenbush at the A-Plus Sunoco on Lloyd Avenue, where he sold eight stamp bags of heroin for $150, an affidavit said.

Quakenbush was arraigned on three counts of possession and delivery of a controlled substance and one count of criminal conspiracy. Quakenbush is being held in the county prison after failing to post a $75,000 bond. Karpesky was jailed under a $10,000 bond for identical counts.

Also arrested were Erik Poponick, 28, of Bradenville, Derry Township; Bruce Thompkins, 44, of Latrobe; Russell Rudy, 22, of Derry; Bryson Braun, 21, of Mt. Pleasant; Ryan Churley, 28, of Derry; Christopher Slater, 33, of Homer City, Indiana County; Todd Trout, 23, of Loyalhanna; Holly Davis, 30, of Unity; Rebecca Barnhart, 33, of New Florence; Glen Ferguson, 44, and Danita Ferguson, 28, both of Bolivar; Brittaney Lehman, 24, of Derry; Amy Garbowsky, 40, of Youngstown, and Shelby Lynne Irvin, 21, of New Derry. Irvin was released after posting $10,000 bond from a bail bondsman, and Garbowsky was released on signature bond, according to online court documents.

One teenager from Latrobe was cited in juvenile court for allegedly selling drugs to undercover officers, police said.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or ppeirce@tribweb.com.

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