Luzerne County employee charged in drug conspiracy
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.