Housing manager says she'll keep up drug fight

August 28, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

The manager of the Bethel Gardens Corp.'s housing development says her husband's conviction on a drug charge will not hamper her efforts to keep dealers away from the complex.

"I will continue the fight out here against drugs," Cathy Sue Stoner said Thursday. "If I didn't care about this community, I wouldn't be doing this job."

Stoner said she knew nothing about her husband's drug-dealing activities until he was arrested in March.

"If I had known, it wouldn't have happened," she said, noting she also didn't know that drugs were being dealt from her car.

Her husband, George Kenneth Faniel, 38, was convicted Tuesday of distribution of cocaine. Washington County Circuit Judge Kennedy Boone sentenced him to eight years in prison. It was his first offense.


Faniel was living with Stoner at 608 N. Prospect St., in November, 1997, and January, 1998, when police informants made several controlled buys of cocaine at the house, according to court documents.

Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Duane Gigeous said Stoner's name came up in the investigation because the couple's home and her vehicles were involved in the drug transactions.

"Faniel used her car to make drug buys ... the home was used for drug buys," Gigeous said. "A search warrant executed at the home turned up no drugs but a large amount of cash was found there."

Stoner wasn't charged with any crime.

Michael Hardy, president of the Bethel Gardens board of directors, said Thursday that he doesn't think the matter should affect Stoner's job.

"Cathy has done a wonderful job, doing the work to keep Bethel Gardens drug-free,'' Hardy said.

Stoner has been manager of the 94-unit, low-income housing development off Jonathan Street for five years. The housing development is operated by a private corporation, but receives federal subsidies.

Stoner said she has worked hard to keep drugs out of the housing development.

"I call the police every day and tell them about drug activity at Bethel Gardens," Stoner said.

As to the controlled buys of cocaine by confidential informants from her home, Stoner said she answered the door and let family members of her husband come inside.

"Why wouldn't I let them in, they were family," she said.

She said Faniel's charging documents clearly show that she left the house after letting the family members go inside.

Hagerstown Police Chief Dale Jones confirmed that Stoner reports drug activity at Bethel Gardens. Jones said he would not comment further.

"It would be speculative for me to comment on her effectiveness now with this conviction of her husband," Jones said.

Carolyn W. Brooks, coordinator of Hagerstown's HotSpot program, said she cannot make personal judgments. However, she said the fight against drugs requires the support of everyone in the community.

"It's essential that adults set a good example without exception," she said.

- Staff Writer Brendan Kirby contributed to this story.

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