Fentanyl Distribution Ring Busted in Hazleton

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(WBRE/WYOU-TV)    It is being called one of the biggest drug busts in the history of Luzerne County a one million dollar fentanyl distribution ring is now history.  The I-Team’s Andy Mehalshick has the story.

“Multiple times we have called the cops about drugs being dealt right in front of my house. We watched people overdose across the street from my house”.  The words of a man who lives near Third and Garfield streets.

One of the locations where dealers and buyers of the fentanyl would meet up so say, investigators. He did not want to appear on camera fearing for his safety.

 “It’s been going on for years. Cops have been called many a time and nothing seems to be done. But I’m glad something is going to be happening here.”

   And that happened Thursday when state and local officers led by the State Attorney General’s Office arrested six people. They say 28-year-old Joel Tejada Guerra was the ring leader. A 100-page arrest affidavit details a complex drug ring. According to those documents Guerra sold fentanyl out of his home on Lincoln Street and his clothing store on Alter Street.

98-year-old Dominic DePaola lives next door to Guerra on Lincoln Street home.

  “I just saw the police officer in the door which was half open. He didn’t knock on my door. I happened to come out and saw him in the doorway,” DePaola told Eyewitness News.

  “Understand that these six dealers that we locked up were infecting these communities with poison, that were claiming lives with poisons that were paralyzing the community,” Said Josh Shapiro, PA Attorney General.

The I team told The Attorney General about the concerns of some folks that this was a “one and done” drug bust.  He responded by   “I would say to the good people of Hazleton this was not our first bust in the community and it won’t be our last. We are not leaving we are staying put to continue to do this work.”

143 people died from drug overdoses in Luzerne County in 2018. Two-thirds of those were connected to fentanyl.


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