Former city businessman jailed on drug charges

HOLLIDAYSBURG — A Blair County judge ruled Friday that police did not present enough evidence to revoke the bail of a former Altoona businessman awaiting trial on multiple drug charges.

But the suspected dealer ended up in the Blair County Prison anyway after the judge raised the amount of money he had to post for bail from $4,500 to $225,000.

Troy Adams, 35, who said he used to operate a downtown eatery called Soul Platterz, was arrested Aug. 15, 2016, and charged with supplying Carlos “Malik” Benitez with crack cocaine for sale.

Police issued warrants for 30 suspected dealers that day.

Adams was charged with participating in drug transactions that occurred on April 18 and 19 and May 9, 2016.

A magisterial district judge set bail at 10 percent of $15,000 on each charge, which meant Adams was freed after posting $4,500.

On Friday Blair County First Assistant District Attorney Pete Weeks asked Blair County Judge Wade Kagarise to revoke and forfeit Adams’ bail because Adams had been charged with three additional drug transactions, which allegedly occurred Aug. 2, 10 and 23, 2017.

Adams, through his Altoona attorney Thomas M. Dickey, claims he is not guilty of the new offenses.

Under questioning from Dickey, city detective Christopher R. Moser stated that Adams was not seen in possession of any illegal drugs or taking any money for the drugs on those dates, but police contend he drove the dealer who delivered the drugs to an informant.

Moser testified that the pattern of the more recent drug deliveries was the same as what occurred during the 2016 deliveries for which Adams is charged.

The problem facing the prosecution is that Adams hasn’t had a preliminary hearing on the three recent charges.

State court records show that Adams is scheduled to have his preliminary hearings on the new cases Wednesday, however, the hearings have been continued multiple times.

Weeks supported his request for bail revocation by telling Kagarise that Adams has a prior record for drug delivery, a firearms violation and theft, all of which occurred between 2003 and 2008.

Dickey argued that there was no testimony yet from the confidential informant involved in the recent cases, and he objected to the introduction of Adams’ record from Philadelphia County.

The defense attorney also pointed out Adams has not failed to appear at court proceedings even though many have been continued.

As of Monday, Adams remained in the Blair County Prison.

Adams told the Altoona Mirror earlier this month that he believes police are overstepping their bounds in his case.

In a written communication with the Mirror, he said, “I’m stressed out and have had anxiety. … I can’t sleep at night. I look out the window and see them sitting outside my car. … I am paranoid and don’t like talking to people. … They caused me to lose my business.

“I don’t even want to take my kids to the park cause I always feel I’m being watched,” he said.

Benitez remains in prison awaiting trial on his 2016 charges.