NJ woman charged in local drug death
A New Jersey woman accused of supplying drugs to a Hollidaysburg woman who died in 2019 was arraigned Wednesday, court documents state.
Taquila Thompson, 42, of Newark, New Jersey, was charged with drug delivery resulting in death as well as several other drug-related crimes after Hollidaysburg Borough police extensively reviewed her digital communications and cellphone location data, court documents stated.
Police discovered Whitney Gutshall of Hollidaysburg dead in her residence Nov. 12, 2019, of a suspected drug overdose, which the Blair County Coroner’s Office later confirmed, court documents stated.
Gutshall’s residence contained a significant amount of heroin, fentanyl, xylazine, suboxone and other drugs, as well as drug paraphernalia and hypodermic needles, police reported.
After compiling a search warrant for Gutshall’s phone, police discovered several text messages between Thompson and Gutshall about Thompson delivering several hundred dollars worth of drugs to Gutshall, court documents stated.
Through Gutshall’s affiliations with other alleged drug users, police reported they learned Gutshall met her drug dealer in jail.
Gutshall and Thompson were imprisoned together in 2014 at State Correctional Institution at Muncy, a women’s correctional facility in Lycoming County, court documents said.
Using cellphone tracking data, police confirmed that a phone known to be used by Thompson traveled from New Jersey to a location in Pennsylvania where a phone used by Gutshall also traveled to at the same time on two separate occasions weeks prior to Gutshall’s death, according to a criminal complaint.
Police also reported money was sent by Gutshall through wire transfers and received by Thompson corresponding to amounts requested around the times the deliveries were made.
Several small plastic bags containing drugs and stamped with names found in Gutshall’s possessions coincide with drugs seen and confiscated that were stamped with the same names in New Jersey, court documents stated.
While sorting through Gutshall’s belongings, police reported a family member found a business card for Thompson in Gutshall’s car. The phone number on the card was the same as one of the numbers Thompson used to contact Gutshall and set up a delivery, police reported.
Thompson is jailed at the Blair County Prison, unable to post her $150,000 cash bail.
Her preliminary hearing was scheduled for
Dec. 1 with Magisterial District Judge Paula Aigner.
Mirror Staff Writer Ike
Fredregill is at 814-946-7458.