Two men were arrested on June 25 in connection with the seizure of suspected heroin/fentanyl by the Pennsylvania State Police.
Kenneth Smith, 38, of Honesdale, Pa., and Paul Wassel, 51, of Taylor, Pa., were charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, and criminal conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance, both felonies. Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin said the seizure is unusually large for Pike County and likely prevented several overdoses.
The state police’s vice unit and the district attorney’s office conducted a two-month investigation into the supplier of a large quantity of heroin to Northeastern Pennsylvania. Their investigation revealed that Smith would be bringing a large quantity of heroin/fentanyl from Paterson, N.J., to Northeastern Pennsylvania during the overnight hours of June 25
Troopers made contact with Smith, who was driving a rental vehicle registered in Florida, at a hotel in Milford Township at 4:30 a.m. on June 25. Smith and Wassel, his passenger, were arrested on probable cause of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and criminal conspiracy, both felonies.
After the arrest, troopers obtained a search warrant for the vehicle Smith was driving from Magisterial District Judge Randy Schmalzle. According to the charges, troopers found more than 2,300 bags of suspected heroin/fentanyl in the engine compartment and more than $600 in cash. The street value of the heroin/fentanyl is approximately $23,000, Tonkin said.
Smith was also charged with delivering heroin for a previous drug sale and tampering with evidence by hiding heroin in his mouth after he was stopped by troopers.
Smith and Wassel were arraigned before Magistrate Deborah Fischer. Bail was set at $800,000 each. Both men were remanded to the Pike County Correctional Facility in lieu of posting bail. A preliminary hearing for both men will be scheduled before Judge Fischer in Pike County.
The Wayne County District Attorney’s Office also assisted in the investigation.
“That troopers conducted this investigation in the middle of the night shows that drug dealers can have no rest or comfort and that at any time of the day or night police will be working hard for the good citizens to investigate and arrest drug dealers,” Tonkin said.