JOHNSTOWN - Five alleged members of a Windber-to-Roaring Spring drug connection now face federal felony charges after a Nov. 7 grand jury indictment.
More than five months after a Roaring Spring roadside stop that led police to an alleged storage house for heroin, cash and illegal guns, federal prosecutors said they have enough evidence to secure decades in prison - if convicted - for the defendants, three of whom lived in Somerset County.
Jamie Porcher, 27, of Windber; Corey Harley, 38, of Waynesboro; Kenneth Biser, 59, of Waynesboro; Nichole Rankin, 25, of Tire Hill; and Peter Donato, 29, of Windber conspired to sell sizable amounts of cocaine and heroin, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release.
Roaring Spring police arrested Rankin and Donato on June 12 after the pair allegedly exchanged 6,000 stamp bags of heroin for $16,000 from Joseph Castro, 28, of Roaring Spring. Castro faces felony charges in Blair County but was not named in the federal indictment.
A month after the trio's arrests, a multiagency sweep in Cambria and Somerset counties netted Porcher, who allegedly provided the heroin and gave the sellers driving directions, as well as Biser and Harley, whom Roaring Spring Police Chief Milton Fields called the group's "kingpin."
In addition to the drug charges, police in July charged Castro with possessing illegally sawed-off shotguns and selling handguns to a neighbor.
Federal prosecutors said Porcher and Harley could face 80 years in prison if convicted, with 60 years for Rankin and Donato and 40 years for Biser.