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Fourth person charged in Pa. heroin bust

March 17, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- A fourth person was charged Tuesday in connection with a major heroin bust in southern Franklin County.

Charges of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance were filed against Heather Nicole Manning, 28, before Magisterial District Judge Larry Pentz in Waynesboro. The Franklin County Drug Task Force alleges Manning stuffed 22 bags of heroin down the front of her pants when officers from several departments arrived at her 244 W. North St. home in Waynesboro last Thursday.

The incident was part of a larger investigation. After searching Manning's home, which was shared by Joshua Gage and two children, officers searched a Zullinger, Pa., home and seized 1,216 bags of heroin they say came from bulk imports from New York and Baltimore.

Preliminary hearings for Rafael Rivera, Kailey Radnor and Gage were scheduled for Tuesday morning in Franklin County Court but were continued to March 24.

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Rivera was charged with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance and criminal use of a communications facility. Radnor was charged with criminal conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance and possession of a small amount of marijuana. Gage was charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

Manning's preliminary hearing was scheduled for April 14.

The Franklin County Drug Task Force formed in 1988. The Waynesboro Police Department assigned a full-time officer to drug investigations in February 2008.

Before the officer's assignment, Waynesboro borough accounted for about 14 percent of Drug Task Force investigations, according to a news release from the Franklin County District Attorney's Office.

That percentage has climbed to 44 percent since the officer's appointment, the news release states.

Also, the Waynesboro area led the rest of the county in arrests and drug seizures in the past year, the release states.

"Because a 'typical' heroin investigation involves having an informant purchase a few bags of heroin, large seizures such as this one are not common occurrences," the release states.

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