Police: Two Altoona men sold meth out of storage unit

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ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Two men are facing felony drug charges after Altoona police say they were selling drugs out of a downtown storage unit. 

Altoona police arrested 25-year-old Tyler J. Bartley and 56-year-old Mark S. Hiles Friday after the pair were found with methamphetamine inside a storage unit on the 900 block of 10th Avenue, according to the charges. 

Police said the unit was furnished with a couch, pillow, blanket and electrical outlets, tables and food and when questioned about suspected drug paraphernalia that was sitting out in the open, Bartley allegedly told officers Hiles had methamphetamine inside as well. Bartley allegedly confessed to being a middleman and running money and drugs between the storage unit and buys on the street. 

When searched, Hiles had three glass pipes, three small bags of suspected methamphetamine worth a total of $500, two small bags of suspected bath salts worth $100 each, a gum wrapper full of suspected bath salts, a bag of suspected methamphetamine resin worth $150 and two small bags of marijuana. Hiles also had $375 in cash on him, police contend.  

Bartley allegedly had a bag of suspected methamphetamine on him when he was searched. 

Hiles claimed he was unemployed and on disability, which provided him $1,300 each month. He denied selling methamphetamine and said there were a lot of people who came to his storage unit because he had the drug, but he would give it to them for free if they asked.

He said he planned to give Bartley methamphetamine for helping clean the storage unit before police arrived.  Police noted in the charges that officers seized “a large quantity of suspected heroin” from the storage unit when officers responded to a fatal drug overdose there in late November. 

Bartley and Hiles both face felony and misdemeanor drug charges that include criminal conspiracy, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and drug possession. 

Bartley was also charged in a separate case stemming from the theft of a 9mm handgun, a safe with morphine inside, a BMX bicycle and a PlayStation 4 gaming system in June in Altoona. The stolen gun was recovered in Allegheny County in July and the safe was found in a garbage container outside a business on the 800 block of Seventh Avenue not long after it was reported stolen. 

When questioned Friday in that theft, Bartley allegedly confessed and said he took the morphine out of the safe before dumping it and he traded the gaming console for drugs and traded the bicycle for methamphetamine, cigarettes and a small amount of cash. 

Police noted Bartley’s criminal history prohibits him from carrying a gun and when he sold it he did not follow any of the regulations for transferring a firearm to another person.  

He is charged with felony and misdemeanor theft-related charges along with felony gun-related charges in that case. Bartley’s bail was set at $50,000 cash in both of his criminal cases and he is lodged in Blair County Prison with preliminary hearings scheduled for Dec. 30. 

Hiles remains free on an unsecured $50,000 bond with a preliminary hearing scheduled for Dec. 30. 

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