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East Neighborhoods
Drug sweep nets 7 arrests

Saturday, August 24, 2002

By Bill Heltzel, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Police and state drug enforcement agents arrested seven people and were looking for 11 others yesterday in an operation dubbed "The Route 22 Drug Investigation."

The drug sweep was named after the highway corridor 3/4 from Westmoreland County to Blair County 3/4 along which most of the suspects lived or operated, authorities said.

Deputy Attorney General Mark Serge described the suspects as street-level dealers. Most of them sold drugs to support their own addictions, he said.

The investigation began a year ago when police from West Hills, near Johnstown, developed a confidential informant and asked for help from the state attorney general's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation in Greensburg.

The informant introduced undercover detectives to suspected drug dealers.

Detectives bought cocaine, heroin, OxyContin and Percocet. The amounts ranged from two to 120 OxyContin pills and one-eighth ounce to half an ounce of cocaine. Detectives paid $20,000 for the drugs.

The suspects and the drugs they are accused of possessing include:

Richard L. Deemer, 41, of Homer City, Indiana County, OxyContin; Eugene A. Harris Jr., 26, of Blairsville, Indiana County, cocaine; Amanda S. Herrity, 26, of Blairsville, heroin; Kathy Hunt of Armagh, Indiana County, OxyContin; William Hunt, 25, of New Florence, OxyContin and cocaine; Jefferson L. Jones, 29, of Penn Hills, cocaine; Merton Jones of Armagh, conspiracy; Patty Mack, 33, and Tim Mack, 45, both of Armagh, stolen prescriptions; Michael "Black" Mussleman of East Freedom, Blair County, heroin and Percocet; Andrew Edward Owens III, 31, of Tarentum, crack cocaine; John "One Eye" Palmer of Blairsville, hydrocodone; Christopher Pandullo, 41, of New Alexandria, OxyContin and heroin; Joseph Pandullo, 39, of Bradenville, OxyContin and hydrocodone; Angelo Santiago of Blairsville, heroin; Jesus Santiago, 32, of Blairsville, heroin; and India Jannelle "Cricket" Williams, 30, of Blairsville, cocaine.

Details on the 18th suspect were unavailable last night.

The suspects will be prosecuted by district attorneys in the counties where transactions took place, including Blair, Cambria, Indiana and Westmoreland counties.

Serge said detectives were still investigating higher-level sources of the drugs and stolen prescriptions.

Bill Heltzel can be reached at bheltzel@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1719.

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