Huntingdon drug raid yields 31 arrests

Police and state drug agents rounded up 31 people suspected of dealing an array of drugs over the last two years.

Heroin, cocaine, prescription pills, marijuana and Molly, a powdered form of MDMA or Ecstasy, were among the drugs sold by the suspects, all street-level dealers, Huntingdon County District Attorney Dave Smith said Wednesday.

“I think drug dealers in Huntingdon County need to realize that if you choose to sell drugs in this county there’s going to be serious consequences,” Smith said Wednesday morning.

“Our message today that this is going to continue, and as you can see – the drugs that were involved – (there isn’t) just marijuana in Huntingdon County anymore,” said James Walstrom, supervisory agent with the state Attorney General’s Office’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation. “These are serious drugs in this area, and we’re going to continue our efforts.”

Walstrom said about every town in Pennsylvania has a heroin problem, and Huntingdon is not an exception.

The drug creates a two-prong problem, Walstrom added.

“Once you get a certain amount of people that are addicted to heroin, they’re going to be seeking it out, but they need some way to pay for that,” Walstrom said.

The operation was a collaborative effort between state Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office, the Huntingdon County District Attorney’s office and the Huntingdon County Drug Task Force, which includes Huntingdon and Mount Union police. The Huntingdon County Sheriff’s Department, state officers with the game commission and the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission as well as officials from the Huntingdon County Jail and the state prisons at Huntingdon and Smithfield assisted in rounding up suspects Wednesday morning.

By mid-morning, 25 suspects were in custody and facing arraignment on felony and misdemeanor drug charges, Smith said.

Walstrom said street-level dealers help police move up the supply chain and referenced past investigations in Huntingdon County as successful in bringing down larger drug rings, such as the 2012 arrest of four people that police say were bringing in large quantities of heroin from Philadelphia and Allentown.

Two people, Nathaniel Fortson, 42, of Mount Union and Trevon Heaster, 24, currently in Huntingdon County Jail, were also arrested on theft charges related to attempts by police to buy drugs.

“The drug deal was set up, they took our money and never came back. That’s why they’re being charged with theft,” Walstrom said.