15 arrested in drug sweep


Police say they’ve served arrest warrants for 15 people in a drug sweep in the Jefferson County area.

Some of the suspects were arraigned this morning in Punxsutawney. Police say they focused on several drugs including cocaine, heroin, meth, marijuana and pills during undercover work over the past two years.

One of suspects was taken away from court in an ambulance. We were in the courtroom for the sudden outburst.

It was a strange day in court today when among other things, a Punxsutawney man headed to the hospital ahead of jail.

Ronald Cook, 45, was waiting for the judge’s bail decision when he asked for medical help. Medics treated him and took him to the hospital.

Also in court were several more alleged dealers from a drug sweep.

“Today we sent out a bunch of officers early this morning and I think as of about 10 minutes ago, we were able to find 15 of the 17 people,” says Capt. Bernard Petrovsky of Pennsylvania State Police Troop C.

Eric Kerestesy, 34, Punxsutawney, faced several drug charges involving heroin and police say they found two stolen guns too.

And hiding under a hood after her arriagnment was Mary Lou Smith, 48, Rossiter. Police say her drug was cocaine. She told the judge she doesn’t have a record. 

The drug sweep also sent a message to others.

“I would call on physicians in this area to exercise restraint in prescribing narcotics,” says District Attorney Jeff Burkett.

Burkett warned people to watch their medicine cabinets and their children’s phones.

“They put the entire world of not only information, but of evil, at their disposal at any time,” says Burkett.

“You’ve got to be taking a look at what they’re doing in their spare time,” says Lt. Chris Neal with PSP.

Burkett says drugs are causing crimes such as people scamming the Punxsutawney Wal-Mart with bogus returns to get money.

“There are employers in this area who can not find enough employees who will pass a drug screen,” says Burkett.

In the six-county area of Troop C, state police say there were 24 fatal overdoses in 2014, and 15 more last year.

“Currently as of this year to date, we have six, which puts us on pace this year to have about 22 to 24,” says Petrovsky.

“These are volatile chemicals that are being combined just to introduce into your body,” says Neal about meth. “It is tearing down the fabric of our small community.”

Police say they are still looking for Derek Hillebrand, 18, DuBois, and Christian Cummings, 23, Brookville. Police say both those suspects are facing charges for marijuana.

Police say they also found three more drug suspects at one of the addresses they went to today.

Records show 11 suspects arraigned in local courts on Wednesday, while Raymond Marsh and Tyler Siple were listed as already in state prison and Ashley Vega on a Jefferson County Jail sentence.

The 15 suspects police say they had located and the drugs listed on the police press release are:

Eric Kerestesy, 34, Punxsutawney, Heroin

Mary Lou Smith, 48, Rossiter, Cocaine

Adam Lowmaster, 32, Punxsutawney, Heroin

Stephen Bouch, 24, Punxsutawney, Heroin

David Walker, 32, Pittsburgh, Cocaine

Ashley Vega, 28, Falls Creek, Heroin

Kayla Gianvito, 31, White Oak, Heroin

Bobbie Jo Wright, 40, Rossiter, Subutex Pills

Tyler Siple, 21, Reynoldsville, Methamphetamine

William Hutchins, 33, Brookville, Marijuana

Michael Bussard, 39, Reynoldsville, Methamphetamine

Cole Johnson, 18, Brockway, Heroin

Melissa Rubba, 48, Punxsutawney, Xanax Pills

Raymond Marsh, 31, Punxsutawney, Heroin

Ronald Cook, 45, Punxsutawney, Hydrocodone Pills

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February 07 2021 06:30 pm

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