HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the arrest of five accused in gun trafficking related charges and their additional involvement in a meth operation in Blair County.
On August 27, 2019, an investigation began of Michael Burchfield and Summer Heil, two individuals involved in trafficking meth and heroin into Altoona. The investigation revealed that Burchfield and Heil were in possession of firearms that were stolen from a Blair County home that had been burglarized.
Burchfield and Heil received the firearms as payment in exchange for drugs they sold.
“This investigation has spanned over the course of 9 months, but it is far from over,” said Sergeant Matthew Plummer of the Altoona Police Department. “We are taking five drug dealers off the street and have confiscated 7 illegal firearms. However, there is more work to be done. Today’s arrests will aid in the investigation and hopefully lead to taking more dangerous criminals out of our neighborhoods. We would like to thank the citizens who came forward and assisted in this investigation, along with the PA Office of Attorney General and Blair County DA’s Office.
The weapons exchanged between Burchfield and Heil were taken from the home of a recently-deceased Blair County resident. The resident’s immediate family did not know that the guns had been stolen from the home and did not report the weapons as stolen after the burglary.
“This investigation once again demonstrates that drug trafficking is a violent enterprise linked to many other crimes that affect our community,” said District Attorney Peter Weeks. “The District Attorney’s Office is grateful for the proactive approach taken by the Altoona Police Department and the Gun Violence Section of the PAOAG in tracing the origins of firearms recovered on the street and holding those involved accountable.”
The five arrested and charged Tuesday morning include Michael Trosky and Paula Cross of Gallitzin; Michael Burchfield and Summer Heil of Altoona; and Amanda Steele of Hollidaysburg. All five individuals arrested today were involved in trafficking narcotics and illegal possession and transfer of firearms.