Luzerne County em­ployee charged in drug con­spir­acy

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - LOCAL - BY JAMES HALPIN STAFF WRITER Con­tact the writer: jhalpin@ cit­i­

WILKES-BARRE—A Luz er ne County Pub­lic De­fender’s Of­fice em­ployee is fac­ing drug-traf­fick­ing charges af­ter state po­lice con­duct­ing a buy-bust op­er­a­tion found her in pos­ses­sion of crack co­caine, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

Leona Ann Miller, 38, of 236 Elm Ter­race, Trucksville, is fac­ing a felony count of con­spir­ing to de­liver drugs and a mis­de­meanor count of pos­sess­ing drugs with the in­tent to de­liver af­ter po­lice say they found her in pos­ses­sion of an undis­closed amount of crack Tues­day.

County records iden­tify Miller as an em­ployee of the pub­lic de­fender’s of­fice who was hired in Fe­bru­ary 2001 and has been em­ployed as a clerk/stenog­ra­pher.

County Man­ager David Pedri said that as of Thurs­day, Miller has been placed on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave with­out pay, with a dis­ci­plinary hear­ing to be sched­uled.

Ac­cord­ing to the charges, state troop­ers along with the Luzerne County Drug Task Force were con­duct­ing a con­trolled drug buy Tues­day tar­get­ing a sus­pected dealer known as “Ski,” iden­ti­fied as Dar­ryl Tay­lor, 38, of WilkesBarre.

Po­lice say Tay­lor agreed to meet a con­fi­den­tial in­for­mant at North Wash­ing­ton and East Main streets in Min­ers Mills. The in­form ant went to the Philly Subs and Pizze­ria at the cor­ner and po­lice ob­served Tay­lor ar­rive in a Jeep Chero­kee with Miller be­hind the whee l , ac­cord­ing to a po­lice af­fi­davit.

Af­ter the deal was com­pleted, the in­for­mant gave a sig­nal and po­lice swooped in, find­ing crack co­caine ly­ing on top of Miller’s purse, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit. Miller told po­lice that Tay­lor gave her the drugs in ex­change for the ride, po­lice said.

Po­lice ar­rested Miller and Tay­lor, but not a third per­son who was in the ve­hi­cle.

Court records show Tay­lor was charged with felony counts of con­spir­ing to de­liver drugs, pos­sess­ing drugs with the in­tent to de­liver and crim­i­nal use of a com­mu­ni­ca­tion fa­cil­ity, as well as mis­de­meanor counts of drug pos­ses­sion and mar­i­juana pos­ses­sion.

Tay­lor was be­ing held at the Luzerne County Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity with bail set at $250,000.

Miller, how­ever, was no longer in cus­tody by Thurs­day. Court records show Mag­is­te­rial District Judge Joseph D. Spag­n­uolo Jr. ini­tially had her jailed Tues­day evening with bail set at $25,000, but that the amount was re­duced Wed­nes­day to un­se­cured bail.

It was not im­me­di­ately clear who changed the bail or when — the case falls un­der Mag­is­te­rial District Judge Thomas F. Mal­loy Sr.’s ju­ris­dic­tion, but no bail hear­ing was listed on the court docket.


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