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Tips pay off for county's drug task force

November 18, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Franklin County Drug Task Force relies on snitches, informants and tips from law-abiding citizens in its drug investigations, such as the one that resulted in charges against two New York men, according to George Mayer, one of the task force's three detectives.

Some tips come in on the task force hot line. Others by less conventional means, Mayer said.

"Yesterday, I had a guy draw a diagram for me on his hand," Mayer said. "I couldn't take his hand with me, so I had to memorize it."

Saturday morning's bust at 1671 Letterkenny Road resulted in the arrests of Dwight E. Adams, 28, and Hasan Ali Shareef, 29, both of Mount Vernon, N.Y. Both were charged with possession with intent to deliver crack cocaine and jailed on $200,000 bail.

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Police allege Shareef and Adams had been setting up shop at various homes in Hamilton Township and Chambersburg on weekends for several months, trading drugs for the use of the houses as a base to sell cocaine.

The 26-year-old woman and 28-year-old man who lived at the address are under investigation on less serious charges, according to the task force report. The drivers of several vehicles leaving the scene were stopped and small quantities of crack were seized, along with $2,000 worth of the drug found in the house and $4,200 in cash.

Thursday morning, Mayer and District Attorney John F. Nelson met for breakfast with municipal officials from around the county to ask for their continued financial support in 2006. Nelson said boroughs and townships provided about $40,000 to the task force this year with those that contribute making payments based on their populations.

Nelson said the task force also relies on county funds for personnel costs and about $45,000 a year from the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office to pay for operational costs such as office space, vehicles, buy money, radios and cell phones.

Chambersburg made the biggest contribution this year at $5,525, while Washington Township paid $3,575, Waynesboro paid $2,973 and Greencastle paid $1,151. Antrim Township Administrator Benjamin Thomas Jr. said his municipality paid $3,868 this year.

"If we call them, I think they are quick to respond to us," said Thomas, who added that the township often refers citizen inquiries to the task force hot line.

Through the first 10 months of this year, the task force has been involved in 177 investigations resulting in 83 arrests. Waynesboro led the way with 21 task force-related arrests, according to the report by Mayer.

"In Waynesboro, we had several informants who were able to get into the housing authority" to assist with investigations, Mayer said. The Franklin County Housing Authority cooperated in the investigations of trafficking in the housing complex, he said.

This year, the task force seized crack and powder cocaine, 202 live marijuana plants and processed marijuana with an estimated street value of $451,643, according to Mayer's figures. Seven handguns, 10 other firearms and three vehicles have also been seized, he said.

The task force has been working with an agent from the state Attorney General's Office and investigations are conducted in cooperation with local and state police, Mayer said.

Tips to the task force can be made by calling the hot line at 800-344-3127 or by e-mail at tips@drugtaskforce.org.

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