PA officials nab heroin peddlers; Tracking cell phones leads to arrests
REGION — Officials working together across county lines have arrested six men in connection with heroin sales in Wayne and Pike counties. Altogether, 662 bags of heroin were seized along with $5,005 in cash. The five–month investigation resulted in the arrest of individuals from Paterson, NJ, Palmyra Township and Honesdale, PA.
According to a press release from the Pike County District Attorney’s Office, detectives from Pike and Wayne began investigating heroin sales in Delaware Township in November of last year. That investigation led to the arrest of Louis Stellato on heroin selling charges. Cash, heroin and guns were seized.
During that investigation, detectives learned that Stellato was being supplied by a man known as Walter “Wizzyâ” Brown, who would travel from Paterson, NJ to the Stellato residence to deliver heroin for resale by Stellato.
Earlier this year, detectives began jointly looking into heroin sales in both counties. In February, undercover detectives began purchasing heroin from Brandon Deforge in Pike County. During those purchases, detectives learned Deforge was obtaining heroin from Brown. In total, detectives purchased over 1,000 bags of heroin on four occasions from Deforge, with a street value of between $15,000 and $20,000. Deforge made sales in Lackawaxen Township, Palmyra Township, and Blooming Grove Township, PA.
Detectives obtained a court order to allow them to monitor the location of cell phones used by
Deforge and Brown. While monitoring cell phone locations, detectives were able to conduct surveillance and observe Brown and Deforge meeting in the Westfall Township and in Honesdale.
On April 2, detectives arranged to purchase heroin from Deforge at a location in Blooming Grove Township. While waiting to complete the purchase, and while monitoring cell phone locations, detectives learned that Brown was traveling from Paterson, NJ toward Pike County.
Brown, Deforge and Luis Rivera arrived at the location in Blooming Grove Township, then sold 250 bags of heroin for $1,675 to a confidential informant, and all three men were arrested, with more cash and drugs being seized. Further investigation revealed Christopher Brisendine as a co-conspirator.
During the same time, detectives were also investigating Nicholas Huebner, age 22, of Honesdale for heroin sales. After Huebner was observed meeting with Brown in Pike County, detectives began to monitor his cell phone as well. On April 4, detectives became aware that Huebner was traveling to Paterson, NJ and back. Upon his return to Honesdale, Huebner was arrested.
Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tonkin and Wayne County District Attorney Janine Edwards credited the joint efforts of their detectives, the Pennsylvania State Police and the Honesdale Borough Police in apprehending the men.
Additionally, both said updates to the Pennsylvania’s Electronic Surveillance Act made the arrests possible. Tonkin stated “without the updated ability to monitor the dealers’ cell phones, it would not have been possible to apprehend individuals who traveled from over 60 miles away to deliver this poison into our communities.”