Woman seeking lung transplant faces charges

August 01, 1997

A Hagerstown woman was charged Thursday with possessing drugs that were found in her home Monday night when narcotics agents arrested four people, officials said.

Jennifer L. Harne, 19, who has made a public appeal for money to pay for a double lung transplant, was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine.

Sgt. Charles Summers, director of the Washington County Narcotics Task Force, said officials obtained a criminal summons instead of a warrant.

The summons means Harne will not be taken into custody and appear before a bond commissioner, he said. Instead, she will have to appear in court when her case is heard.


"We don't want to take her into custody because of her health problems. She really doesn't appear to be a flight risk," Summers said.

Summers said the approach is taken with most nonviolent suspects who do not appear likely to leave town.

The charges are the latest twist in what has been a difficult period for Harne. Born with cystic fibrosis, Harne's condition reached a critical state in December. Since then, friends and family have rallied to raise money to pay for the operation.

The fund-raising campaign has raised about $18,000, according to Carol Staebler, who has helped organize the effort.

Three men and a juvenile were arrested outside Townhouse Manor Apartments Monday night after an informant bought drugs from one of them, according to police.

The investigation led authorities to Harne's home at 110 Manor Drive, Apartment 104. They seized an ounce of crack cocaine, a half-ounce of marijuana, according to police.

Staebler said Tuesday that the campaign will be suspended temporarily on the advice of the Children's Organ Transplant Association. She said the association has guaranteed the $50,000 needed to keep Harne on the transplant list.

Businesses that contributed to the campaign will be given the option of withdrawing, said Adeline Staebler, daughter of Carol Staebler.

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