Reblogged From The Press Enterprise - Last updated: June 1, 2016 - 6:59pm
BERWICK — Officers were prepared for trouble when they raided what they say was a large-scale heroin den early Wednesday morning.
The Columbia-Montour SWAT team and agents from the Office of the Attorney General rolled up to the half double at 805 Chestnut St. around 7 a.m. with a Bearcat armored vehicle and helmeted officers carrying rifles, neighbors said.
In the end, the five people they arrested were taken into custody without incident, said Berwick Police Chief Kenneth Strish.
But officers say they found 95 bags of heroin inside the house, loose heroin and 34 bags of suspected Molly — a synthetic form of the stimulant Ecstasy. They also found weapons, bullet proof vests, and cash, the chief said.
Some familiar faces
Among those arrested were Terrell “Trouble” Slaughter, 28, who overdosed on heroin at least twice over the past few years and had to be revived. He was wanted by adult probation officers even before the latest incident, police said. Slaughter also served state prison time for robbery in 2006, according to court records.
Jermaine “Mack” Raheim Wilson, 23, was arrested as an alleged co-conspirator. Wilson had no previous criminal history as an adult, said police. But Wilson admitted to having a juvenile record.
The two men lived together at 805 N. Chestnut, according to court papers.
Britney Lea Lockard, 18, was arrested as well. Her only previous record as an adult is a pending shoplifting case in Hemlock Township, according to court records. But she had been seen at previous busts, officers told the judge. And though she gave her address as 409 S. Main St., Wapwallopen, police said she had been living at the Chestnut Street house.
Tia Marie Fenstermacher, of 1911 Montour Blvd., Danville, made the mistake of celebrating her 25th birthday at the house when it was raided Wednesday, said officers.
Felicia Lea Cressinger, 25, of 124 B Cemetery St., Berwick, was also arrested at the house.
Informant: Drug supplied through New York
A confidential informant claimed to be buying bundles of 10 bags of heroin regularly from Slaughter and Lockard, according to a search warrant filed by Detective Brandon Shultz.
The pair were going to New York about once a week to restock both heroin and marijuana, the informant added.
Columbia County Adult Probation officers also reported Slaughter’s supply trips to New York. He was getting the drug in loose form, then spooning it into smaller bags for sale, according to the search warrant.
Around May 30, Slaughter and Lockard allegedly contacted an informant and offered to sell him or her heroin; they had just returned to Berwick with a fresh supply.
A controlled buy
So police said they set up a controlled buy, surreptitiously following Lockard as she left the house, met the informant near East Ninth and Chestnut Street, then went back to the house, police said.
The informant returned to police carrying heroin, according to officers. That was enough to secure a search warrant.
Nodding off in court
During the raid, police said they found the drugs as well as a Springfield Armory .45-caliber handgun, several electronic scales, syringes, straws, and money, though they didn’t say how much cash.
The three women admitted to buying heroin for personal use from the two men, according to charges. Lockard also allegedly admitted to selling heroin to her friends to support her own habit.
At his arraignment, Slaughter appeared to be nodding off. He answered questions slowly and sat with his eyes closed as District Judge Richard Knecht asked him about his history.
“Are the answers on the back of your eyelids?” the judge finally asked. “What’s with your eyes closed? Are you sick?”
“I’m just very tired, sir,” Slaughter answered. “I am a little sick.”
He was addicted to drugs, he said. When the judge asked if he was addicted to heroin, Slaughter replied, “I guess you might say.”
He’d recently worked at Amazon for eight or nine months, he said. Before that, he worked doing construction with his father in Harrisburg, he told the judge.
Drug suspect clad in DARE shirt
Wilson said he had been working at Amazon, too, before getting a job at Sykes Enterprises for the past two or three months.
When asked about whether he had a heroin addiction, he told the judge, “not so much.” He was, however, “a little bit” addicted to cocaine as well as alcohol, he said.
“Is there anyone you want to call?” the judge asked.
“Jesus,” Wilson sighed, before saying he couldn’t call anyone since his phone had been taken, along with all the phone numbers of people he knew.
Lockard was brought into the courtroom wearing a DARE anti-drug T-shirt officers had given her to keep her warm after her arrest.
Her parents live locally, she said, but she didn’t know if they were aware she was in custody. She couldn’t call them, she said. She didn’t know their numbers.
Detective Brandon Shultz said she faced methamphatamine-related charges as a juvenile. She admitted being addicted to heroin.
She has no job, she said, though she once worked at a restaurant.
She’s never been arraigned before, she told the judge.
“This is not a good way to start your 18th year,” Knecht told her.
Only call to employer
Cressinger said she has a 5-year-old daughter living with her mother, who had come to the magistrate’s office looking for her after hearing about her arrest.
She has been arrested on meth-manufacturing charges before, she said. But more recently, she had been working at Thompson’s Mailing though One Source temp agency, she said.
Fenstermacher said she also had a daughter, 6, being raised by her mother. Her mother didn’t know she’d been arrested, she added.
Her head drooped as she was arraigned, and her speech was slow.
But when asked if she wanted to make a phone call, she said she wanted to call KFC, where she works, to tell them she wouldn’t be in.
“I just got out of rehab like, two weeks ago,” she said.
She’s addicted to heroin, she told the judge.
She had been arrested before and is on probation for heroin possession with intent to deliver.
She also admitted warrants had previously been issued against her for failing to show up for other cases, including domestic issues.
Strish said police learned about possible drug dealings at the house from both tips from the public and other sources.
Strish said intelligence, along with the fact that the department is short-handed, led him to ask the SWAT team to help with the Berwick Police Department with the raid.
Slaughter and Wilson are both charged with possessing heroin and Molly with the intent to deliver them, drug possession, and conspiracy. Knecht set their bails at $150,000 each.
Lockard is charged with possessing heroin with the intent to deliver it, drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bail was $50,000.
Fenstermacher and Cressinger were charged with possessing heroin and drug paraphernalia. Fenstermacher’s bail was set at $50,000. Cressinger’s bail was $10,000.
All five were sent to Columbia County Prison.
Their preliminary hearings are all set for 2:30 p.m. June 13 before Knecht.
Susan Schwartz covers the Berwick area. She can be reached at 570-752-3646 and email@example.com, or followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/PESueSchwartz.