TUNKHANNOCK — During a conference at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre where law enforcement and state lawmakers discussed violent crime and drug trafficking, state police announced a widespread drug sweep in Wyoming County.
The word that 28 people were charged was made 30 minutes after the start of the two-hour conference on Tuesday.
The sweep was the result of a year-long investigation by state police Troop P and the Wyoming County District Attorney’s Office.
“There are a total of 41 criminal cases involving 28 defendants,” Wyoming County District Attorney Jeffrey Mitchell said in a news release. ‘Thirty-eight of the cases are in Wyoming County, three are in Sullivan County. All cases involve felony drug charges.”
Mitchell also said 25 cases involve heroin, 12 involve prescription tablets, three involve methamphetamine and one involved cocaine.
“The arrests illustrate that heroin remains a drug of choice among the youth in Wyoming County. While law enforcement and criminal investigations are one component in battling the use of illegal drugs, so is treatment and rehabilitation,” Mitchell said. “It is my hope that those arrested will sincerely seek treatment and help to end the cycle of addiction that afflicts our community.”
Authorities began arrests early Tuesday morning.
Trooper Martin Connors said late Tuesday afternoon that 21 people were in custody.
Those captured and charged with various drug offenses are: Valerio Amato, 35, South Montrose; Patrick Bacorne, 31, Dushore; Tonya Birchard, 24, Nicholson; Christina Birchard, 30, Nicholson; Jeremy Broody, 34, Tunkhannock; Rosie Goble, 19, Tunkhannock; Joshua Heiser, 23, last known address as Shickshinny; Timothy Husted, 24, Tunkhannock; Dustin Harvey, 27, South Montrose; Ryan McClain, 27, Tunkhannock; Ryan McElhoes, 23, Laceyville; Travis Newell, 24, address unknown; Richard L. Schultz, 28, Nicholson; Jerome Slick, 35, New Milford; Christopher Travers, 30, address unknown; Jenna Vanderpool, 26, Tunkhannock; Adam Vosburg, 26, Tunkhannock; and Matthew Canfield, 22, Laceyville.
Those charged who have not been captured as of late Tuesday afternoon are: Christopher Everetts, 30, formerly of Wilkes-Barre; Stacey Fisher, 24, address unknown; Duston Johnson, 27, last known address as Hazleton; Jesse Long, 24, last known address as Dupont; Robert Manker, 36, address unknown; and Michael Smith, 34, Meshoppen.
Authorities did not release the names of four other people charged in the sweep.