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13 arrested in drug bust

March 18, 2008
By Mark Leberfinger and Greg Bock, mleberfinger@altoonamirror.com,
TYRONE — Five of the 13 people arrested Monday in a drug sweep are connected to a cocaine and heroin ring orchestrated by a Bloods street gang that was dismantled last month, Blair County authorities said.

The five, who are not believed to be street gang members, either traveled to New York to make a drug run or used a secondary source who provided them with the drugs, District Attorney Richard Consiglio said.

The suspects included Guy Allen Walter, 24, who was previously jailed in Blair County Prison for three January robberies in Altoona. Also charged were: Catherine Watson, 30, 121 E. Fifth Ave.; William Green, 898 29th St., Apt. 5; David Bonsell, 31, 320 21st St.; and Rebecca Bonsell, 29, 898 29th St., Apt. 5, police said.

Walter is charged with three heroin sales from Dec. 19-21 near his house at 30th Street and Broad Avenue, court documents state. He told Magisterial District Judge Fred B. Miller that he was being held on the robbery charges. He also said he has a 5-year-old daughter, but he and the child’s mother “split up [two years ago] because of me using.”

Walter went back to the county prison in lieu of an additional $45,000 cash bail.

The arrests culminate a four-month investigation by the Blair County Drug Task Force.

“The problem is people remain on the street until we arrest them,” Consiglio said.

The task force tries to “buy bust” suspects by making drug buys in quick succession before executing the arrest, but not all of the investigations can be short in duration, Consiglio said.

Steven Ray, 32, of 612 Park Ave., Tyrone, didn’t want to answer the door when officers arrived Monday morning, but when he did, he was taken into custody. He apologized to Miller for the delay in answering the door, explaining that he was trying to call his attorney to find out his rights.

Ray is charged with stealing $100 in task force money from a confidential informant who was at a Tyrone-area home Jan. 7 for a crack cocaine sale, court documents state.

As of Monday, Ray said he’s been clean for the last 70 days. He goes seven days a week to Narcotics Anonymous meetings in the Altoona area and on weekdays to outpatient drug treatment.

“I am an addict for life,” Ray said.

He was released on $20,000 unsecured bail. Miller ordered him to continue the meetings and treatment and to submit to random drug testing as part of his bail conditions.

Only one of the 14 people sought Monday wasn’t arrested. Police only know her as “Jada.” She’s believed to be from the Harrisburg area and connected with drug dealers there, Consiglio said.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled for March 25 before Miller.

Mirror Staff Writer Mark Leberfinger is at 946-7462. Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7446.

Article Photos

(Mirror photo by Mark Leberfinger)
Steven Kee Holmberg, a Blair County Prison inmate, is escorted to an arraignment Monday as part of a drug sweep in Altoona and Tyrone.

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