Major heroin bust in Pike
Dealers' cell phones help detectives track heroin deliveries from Paterson, N.J.
MILFORD — Five people were arrested for trafficking heroin in Pike and Wayne counties, the Pike County District Attorney's office announced on Friday.
Detectives seized 662 bags of heroin and $5,005 in cash.
A five-month investigation conducted jointly by the Pike and Wayne County District Attorney’s offices ended in the arrest of two men from Paterson, N.J.; two from Palmyra Township, in Pike County; and one from Honesdale, in Wayne County.
November: Investigation begins
In November, detectives from the Pike County District Attorney’s Office began investigating heroin sales in Delaware Township. Their investigation soon led to the arrest of Louis Stellato on heroin-selling charges. Detectives found more than $6,000 in cash, 172 bags of heroin, and several firearms in Stellato's residence.
Detectives also learned that Stellato was being supplied by a man known as Walter “Wizzy” Brown, who would travel from Paterson to deliver heroin for Stellato to sell locally.
February: Undercover purchases
Earlier this year, detectives from both district attorneys' offices began looking into heroin sales in both counties. In February, detectives began purchasing heroin from Brandon Deforge in Pike County, and found that Deforge was obtaining heroin from Brown.
Detectives bought more than 1,000 bags of heroin on four occasions from Deforge. The heroin, purchased at a wholesale rate, had a street value of between $15,000 and $20,000. Deforge sold heroin in Lackawaxen, Palmyra, and Blooming Grove townships.
Detectives obtained a court order that permitted them to monitor the location of cell phones used by Deforge and Brown. From their surveillance, they knew that Brown and Deforge were meeting in the Westfall and Honesdale areas.
On April 2, detectives arranged to buy heroin from Deforge at a location in Blooming Grove. While waiting to complete their purchase, detectives learned from monitoring Brown's cell phone that was traveling from Paterson to Pike County. Brown, Deforge, and Luis Rivera arrived at Blooming Grove location. Deforge then sold 250 bags of heroin for $1,675 to a confidential informant. At that point, the detectives from Pike and Wayne, and Pennsylvania State Troopers, took the three men into custody.
Detectives recovered the money, stashed in Deforge's pants, that they used to purchase the heroin. After searching a 2006 Subaru and a 1998 Ford, detectives recovered an additional 340 bags of heroin and $580 in cash. Further investigation revealed Christopher Brisendine as a co-conspirator.
At the same time, the detectives from Wayne and Pike were also investigating Nicholas Huebner, 22, of Honesdale for selling heroin. After Huebner was observed meeting with Brown in Pike County, detectives obtained a court order to monitor the location of Huebner's cell phone.
On April 4, detectives were monitoring Huebner's cell phone as he traveled to Paterson and returned to Honesdale, where he was arrested by Wayne County detectives, Honesdale Borough police officers, and the state police. Police seized 72 bags of heroin and $450 from Huebner.
Huebner was arrested for a prior sale of heroin in Honesdale and will face additional charges to be filed April 56 in Wayne County by the Wayne County District Attorney’s Office.
Cell phones track traffickers
Raymond Tonkin, the Pike County District Attorney, and Janine Edwards, the Wayne County District Attorney, credited the joint efforts of their detectives, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Honesdale Borough Police in apprehending the five men. They also credited the State Legislature's recent updates to Pennsylvania’s Electronic Surveillance Act, which facilitated the monitoring of drug dealers’ activities.
"Without the dedicated cooperative efforts of the Detectives of both offices involved in this investigation and the updated ability to monitor the dealers’ cell phones, it would not have been possible to apprehend individuals who traveled from over 60 miles away to deliver this poison into our communities," Tonkin said.
District Attorney Edwards said heroin "is threatening our communities everyday, resulting in addiction issues, family problems, and criminal activity. I am committed to a continued joint law enforcement effort. Those that choose to sell drugs in Wayne County and are caught will be vehemently prosecuted.”
The district attorneys were assisted in their investigation by the Pennsylvania State Police, Eastern Pike Regional Police Department and the Honesdale Police Department.
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