Last updated: July 28. 2014 1:17AM - 2622 Views
By - smocarsky@timesleader.com

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WILKES-BARRE — Local law enforcement arrested five people — one of them an alleged gang member, another facing a deportation hearing and two others with warrants out for their arrests — during a series of narcotics raids on Wednesday.

The Wilkes-Barre Police Anti Crime Unit with the assistance of the Pennsylvania State Police Wyoming Vice/Narcotics Unit also seized two handguns and a bullet-proof vest and oversaw a controlled drug buy at local supermarket.

In one operation, a confidential informant placed a phone call to a man identified as Nicholas Sando, also known as “Sick Nick,” 59, of East Green Street, Nanticoke, requesting to buy heroin. Sando allegedly told the informant to meet him in the parking lot of Schiel’s Family Market, 30 Hanover St., police said.

After the buy, Sando and the driver of the car in which the buy was conducted, Angela Espinosa, 43, of Echo Valley Drive, Shavertown, were stopped and arrested. A records check showed Sando was wanted by the Luzerne County Sheriff’s Office on a simple assault charge.

Another arranged buy — this time for crack cocaine — was made through a confidential informant in the area of Puritan Lane and Taft Street, and police arrested John Witherspoon, also known as “Nick,” 29, of Queens, New York, at the rear of a South Meade Street residence after a foot pursuit to that area, police said.

Witherspoon was wanted by Pennsylvania State Parole in connection with a previous narcotics arrest. Witherspoon told police he is an active Crip gang member with the Rollin’ ’60s set based out of Queens, New York.

Another controlled buy of crack cocaine was set up through a confidential informant in the area of Covell and Blackman streets, but it wasn’t completed because the suspects, Amos Coker, 26, of West Hartford Street, Ashley, and Prospect Street, Wilkes-Barre, and Terrell Humphrey, 29, of Waters Street, Wilkes-Barre, recognized a member of the surveillance team from a previous narcotics arrest and became “extremely nervous,” police said.

After the informant exited the vehicle that Humphrey and Coker were in, police stopped it and found a large quantity of crack cocaine located in Humphrey’s genital region, police said.

Humphrey was out on work release from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility and was also on state parole, police noted.

Police also found a fully loaded Kel-Tec semi-automatic 9mm pistol in the vehicle, which had been rented by Coker, police said.

Coker had been flagged as a deportable alien, so police contacted the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and were informed that Coker will face a deportation hearing based on the current charges.

Based on information obtained in the investigation, officers obtained a search warrant for Coker’s residence at 21 W. Hartford St., Ashley, and recovered a bulletproof vest from a bedroom and a fully loaded .38-caliber Taurus revolver with a box of ammunition from the basement, police said.

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