Woman sentenced for drug deal assist

HOLLIDAYSBURG – A minor player in the Operation Last Call drug investigation was sentenced Friday to serve at least a year in a state correctional institution for helping her boyfriend set up a cocaine deal.

Amanda Sue Hoyt, 28, of Philadelphia left Altoona after police cracked down on a group that was distributing large amounts of cocaine, brought to Altoona from Baltimore, out of the Corner Bar & Grill at 1001 Eighth Ave.

Police brought an end to the drug ring during the early morning of Nov. 4, 2011, including the arrest of the boyfriend, Danny Tallie of Altoona.

When she was taken into custody in August 2012, she contended she fled the area because her boyfriend had abused her.

She left the area again, leading to a bench warrant being issued in November 2012. Hoyt wasn’t found until last September when she was lodged in the county prison.

On Friday, she appeared before Blair County Judge Hiram A. Carpenter where she entered a guilty plea to conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver cocaine.

Former Altoona police investigator Troy Johannides said Hoyt was “a minnow compared to the rest, but she’s part of it [the drug organization],” when she was initially arrested in 2012.

According to police documents, Hoyt was the contact for a police confidential informant who was seeking to buy cocaine on Aug. 8, 2011.

The informant was seeking to obtain cocaine through Tallie, who was associated with Kenneth Piner of Altoona in the distribution of cocaine.

Hoyt told the informant that Tallie was with Piner remodeling a building.

She gave Tallie a message that the informant had $250 and wanted to purchase an 8-ball, or 3.5 grams of cocaine.

Hoyt is alleged to have then given the informant Tallie’s number.

The two met, and the deal was completed.

Hoyt was represented by court-appointed attorney Ed Zang.

Carpenter sentenced her to a minimum of a year but gave her credit for time served since September. He also said she was eligible for the Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive in the state correctional facility, which reduces her minimum time to nine months.

Tallie is doing four to 12 years at the State Correctional Institution at Pine Grove, and Piner is serving 36 to 72 years at the State Correctional Institution at Forest.

Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.