Attorney General Shapiro Announces Additional Arrests in $1 Million Drug Ring “Operation Outfoxed

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(WBRE/WYOU-TV)  Pennsylvania Attorney Josh Shapiro announcing on Thursday a new round of arrests in a million dollar heroin and crack cocaine ring operating in Wilkes-Barre and Luzerne County.

 . The Office of Attorney General and Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office charged 36 people with drug dealing in the second phase of a joint investigation called “Operation Outfoxed.”

In a prepared released Attorney General Shapiro said “This ring of drug dealers was selling thousands of dollars’ worth of heroin and crack cocaine every day for more than a year – infecting Wilkes-Barre and the surrounding communities until we put a stop to it,” 

“The people of Luzerne County are fed up with the peddling of this poison in their communities. We hear you and today, we took 36 more dealers off the streets of Northeastern Pennsylvania.”  Shapiro added.

The investigation began in the fall of 2016. With the collaboration of local, state and federal law enforcement, Bureau of Narcotics agents identified Brian “Fox” Francis, 35, as the main dealer supplying heroin and crack cocaine. He obtained drugs from a source in New York City for sale in Wilkes-Barre and Luzerne County. Enlisting a ring of conspirators, Francis set up an extensive network operating out of motels and homes throughout Wilkes-Barre. The network of dealers used coded language to communicate, calling heroin “movies” and crack cocaine “cookies” or “candy.”

Francis and 13 conspirators were arrested in August and charged with various offenses. Today, Office of Attorney General agents, working with local police and the Luzerne County DA’s Office, charged 36 additional defendants, bringing the total number of arrests to 50 connected to this drug ring.

22 dealers face felony charges including corrupt organizations, conspiracy, and possession with intent to deliver. They will be prosecuted by the Office of the Attorney General:

·       John Chopyak, 50, Mill Street, Pittston

·       Brian Costello, 41, Northview Avenue, Harveys Lake

·       Kendra Fuller, 33, Scott Street, Wilkes-Barre

·       David Kusma, 47, West Sperling Street, West Wyoming

·       Victoria Masi, 50, Meyers Street, Edwardsville

·       Diana Mecadon, 47, Church Street, Pittston

·       Luke Mikush, 32, Hanover Street, Wilkes-Barre

·       Patrice Neville, 40, Capouse Avenue, Scranton

·       Lisa Nicholas, 56, Summit Street, Edwardsville

·       Karen Novak, 56, East Columbus Avenue, Pittston

·       James Osticco, 50, John Street, Pittston

·       Brian Pillonato, 51, Linden Street, Scranton

·       Bruce Pinkney, 49, Price Street, Kingston

·       Charles Plummer, 70, Dougher Lane, Wilkes-Barre

·       Robert Scorey, 52, North Hancock Street, Wilkes-Barre

·       Jamie Skursky, 45, Bear Creek Road, Dupont

·       Michelle Snyder, 40, South 4th Street, Hughesville

·       Eric Sommers, 26, North Market Street, Glen Lyon

·       Shawn Soska, 33, Swallow Street, Pittston

·       Arthur Thomas, 53, West Hollenback Avenue, Wilkes-Barre

·       Frederick Thomason, 57, Scott Street, Wilkes-Barre

·       Meiki Williams, 20, Old River Road, Wilkes-Barre

14 other defendants were charged with solicitation to deliver controlled substances and possession. They will be prosecuted by the Luzerne County District Attorney:

·       Sean Carrill, 26, Main Street, Archbald

·       Edward Casella, 36, Hurley Street, Wilkes-Barre

·       John Cole, 33, North Pennsylvania Avenue, Wilkes-Barre

·       Robert Godlewski, 45, Maxwell Street, Wilkes-Barre

·       Derek Heater, 29, Monroe Avenue, Dunmore

·       Francis Kelly, 39 Cedar Avenue, Scranton

·       Nicole Kendreth, 33, Maxwell Street, Wilkes-Barre

·       Ashley Myers, 22, Cemetery Road, Wapwallopen

·       Bryan Oberdorf, 41, Wight Avenue, Kingston

·       Kelly Rowan, 38, Liberty Street, Pittston

·       Shawn Sakowski, 45, North Main Street, Mountaintop

·       Joseph Sciandra, 49, Exeter Avenue, West Pittston

·       Cynthia Tucker, 49, Mullen Hollow Road, Birdsboro

·       Jennifer Williams, 39, Campground Road, West Pittston

“Thanks to strong collaboration between a large number law enforcement partners in Northeastern Pennsylvania, we were able to break up this major ring and arrest these dealers,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “Law enforcement collaboration helps make our communities safer. We’ll remain relentless and focused and will not let up.”

In addition to the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, the joint operation involved the Luzerne County DA’s Office and County Detectives, FBI’s Safe Street Task Force, DEA, Pennsylvania State Police, Luzerne County Drug Task Force, police departments in Plains Township, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Edwardsville, Kingston and Pittston, Lackawanna County Detectives and the Luzerne County Sheriffs’ Office.

Deputy Attorney General William Abraham will prosecute the cases for the Office of Attorney General.

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(Information from the Attorney General’s Office)

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