Po­lice, FBI drug raid nets six ar­rests

The Morning Call (Sunday) - - NEWS - — Sarah M. Wo­j­cik

Charges are pend­ing against six peo­ple af­ter fed­eral war­rants were used to search four res­i­dences in the Eas­ton area around 6 a.m. Satur­day in what Eas­ton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. called a “ma­jor drug in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

Po­lice did not re­lease the names of those ar­rested or say what war­ranted the search aside from that this was a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion with the FBI. They also would not say what the search un­cov­ered. In­for­ma­tion is be­ing with­held be­cause the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is on­go­ing, Eas­ton po­lice Lt. Matthew Ger­ould said.

A home on the first block of Olde Penn Drive in Palmer Town­ship was searched, po­lice said, as were three homes in Eas­ton: on the 1000 block of West Wilkes Barre Street, the 200 block of Or­chard Street, and the 100 block of South 12th Street.

Two of the six peo­ple ar­rested face fed­eral charges and the other four are be­ing charged with state of­fenses, ac­cord­ing to Ger­ould.

The search war­rants are re­lated to a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Eas­ton po­lice vice unit and the FBI. State po­lice as­sisted with the war­rants.

Panto said he and city Ad­min­is­tra­tor Luis Cam­pos ac­com­pa­nied au­thor­i­ties to the Palmer Town­ship home. The raid was the sec­ond of about 40 this year that Panto said he at­tended. He es­ti­mated that as many as 140 law en­force­ment of­fi­cers were in­volved in Satur­day’s ef­fort.

“This was a ma­jor in­ves­ti­ga­tion that’s been go­ing on for many months,” Panto said. “I want to be out there so I can speak first­hand to the pro­fes­sion­al­ism and col­lab­o­ra­tion of these agen­cies.”

Panto said res­i­dents on Olde Penn Drive came out to thank the agen­cies for their work. He said it was a tes­ta­ment to how much the Eas­ton Po­lice Depart­ment has grown over the last decade, earn­ing trust in the com­mu­nity.

Panto said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan lo­cally but ex­panded to fed­eral au­thor­i­ties once law en­force­ment sus­pected the drugs in­volved crossed state lines.

“Crim­i­nals don’t know geopo­lit­i­cal bound­aries,” the mayor said. “So co­op­er­a­tion among the agen­cies is ex­tremely im­por­tant in help­ing to get drugs off our streets.”

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