POTTSVILLE, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Law enforcement in Schuykill County wants to send a message to drug dealers. Investigators say they’ve seen a devastating number of overdose deaths. And now one particular case.. is helping them lock up more alleged drug dealers. Eyewitness News reporter Haley Bianco shows us how this case is setting the tone.
It’s been almost a year since 23-year-old Alex Sienkiewicz of Tamaqua died. She thought she was shooting up heroin — but it was actually fentanyl — a potent, synthetic narcotic.
“You just don’t know what you’re getting,” said Dr. David Moylan, Schuylkill County coroner.
The Schuylkill County coroner’s office listed her death as a homicide. The investigation revealed that three people were involved with the drug deal, leading to her death.
22-year-old Kyle Merenda and 33-year-old Jonathan Seekins face charges including drug delivery resulting in death… A crime that’s punishable by up to 40 years in prison.
Police also accuse 24-year-old Melanie Kropp with drug crimes.
“We want to send a message to these dealers. We are serious about bringing charges and stopping the drugs from coming into Schuylkill County,” said District Attorney, Christine Holman.
In 2015 the county saw 25 overdose deaths.. just a year later that number more than tripled.. jumping to 77. And just three months into this year, we’re already at 13.
“That to me is horrifying and needs to end,” said Holman.
The coroner’s office continues analyzing those deaths.
“We’re actually looking at maps of the county and the city of Pottsville to see if a pattern is going to shake out from that,” said Moylan.
He tells me there’s no quality control when getting drugs like heroin. If laced with fentanyl a user will likely experience trouble breathing, convulsions or comatose.
Law enforcement wants to punish these dealers for selling lethal drugs to citizens. They say that starts with cases like this.
In this case action is pending. Kyle Merenda had a preliminary hearing today in Frackville… He posted bail this afternoon. Jonathon Seekins posted bail last week.