email@example.com KINGSTON – A firefighter and an exotic dancer were among 20 people charged with various drug offenses in connection with a six-month undercover investigation by police and the state Attorney General’s Luzerne County Drug Task Force.
Authorities began arresting the suspected drug dealers just before 8 a.m. Thursday and paraded them into the Kingston Police Department, where they were arraigned before District Judge Paul J. Roberts Jr. Luzerne County District Attorney David W. Lupas and Kingston police Capt. John Jorda said four of those arrested have ties to the street gang Crips. Two others are suspected of having a gang affiliation. Lupas identified those arrested as low-to-mid-level street dealers who sold heroin, cocaine, crack, marijuana and prescription medications. One of the suspects, Stephen J. Luksh, 22, of Dallas, was involved in the sale of ecstasy, according to arrest records. “Drug dealers are not welcome in Kingston. I think the message is being sent loud and clear,” Lupas said during a late Thursday morning press conference. “If you’re going to sell drugs in Kingston, we’re going to arrest you,” a stern Jorda said, adding that those arrested Thursday used parking lots of businesses “to blend in with the public” when they sold the illegal drugs. A full-time firefighter in Jenkins Township, Kenneth W. Rudda, 42, of Main Street, Jenkins Township, was arrested on charges he attempted to buy Vicodin from a Kingston pharmacy using a fraudulent prescription in February, according to arrest records. Authorities recovered 6 grams of heroin, two loaded handguns (a .380-caliber and a .357-caliber), ammunition, small sandwich-type baggies and cell phones from the Pittston home of Tyrell M. McClure, Jorda said. Jorda said the drugs and contraband were found inside a duffel bag that also contained rice. Rice is used to absorb the scent of heroin and to distract drug-sniffing canines during searches, Jorda said. An undercover agent said the six grams of heroin is enough to provide more than 1,000 packaged bags for sale. Jorda described McClure, 31, as a “heavy-hitter” suspected drug dealer. Bambi Ravanna Kearns, 25, last known address as Short Street, Edwardsville, was arrested at the Cabaret gentlemen’s club on Market Street in Kingston on Wednesday night. Jorda said Kearns, an exotic dancer, sold crack to an undercover agent in the club’s parking lot, then returned to the stage before being arrested. An undercover agent said Kearns was free on $25,000 bail. Arrest records show that Kearns was arrested in July, when police found her hiding packaged bags of heroin in her pants and shoe during a traffic stop on Union Street in Swoyersville. Lupas said he plans to revoke Kearns’ bail. An Edwardsville man arrested in Thursday’s sting, Andre Saleem Ransome, 18, was shot in the chest during a fight outside Building 322 of the Sherman Hills Apartment Complex, Wilkes-Barre, on July 14, an undercover agent said. The agent said Ransome relocated to Edwardsville after the shooting because “Wilkes-Barre police were putting the heat on him.” Ransome is charged with selling and possessing crack and heroin, according to arrest records. A pregnant woman, Morgan S. Jacien, of Roosevelt Street, Edwardsville, was arrested for her alleged role in selling four packages of heroin to an undercover agent and a confidential informant on July 20. Arrested and charged with various drug offenses were: Matthew Wrhel, 20, Hillside Road, Shavertown; Gary Stemko, 21, Monges Street, Hazleton; Michele Popish, 30, West Pittston; Shavonne Bumpher, 27, Beverly Drive, Edwardsville; Danielle L. Daylida, 27, Tari Drive, Shavertown; Kristin Moyer, 19, Cherry Lane, Fairview Township; Trimell Leemond Dunbar, 32, East Bennett Street, Kingston; Shawna Lee Wildoner, 23, Spruce Street, Kingston; Brandon J. Evans, 20, Hazel Street, Harveys Lake. Authorities are searching for three more people and requested their last names not be published until the suspects are in custody. A 17-year-old male juvenile from Wilkes-Barre is also being sought. Most of those arrested were jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with bail set between $5,000 and $50,000. Preliminary hearings are scheduled for Oct. 18 in Central Court. ON THE WEB: To see video of several of the people arrested, go to www.timesleader.com.
Edward Lewis, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 829-7196.