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June 14, 2014

Milton youth photographer focus of AG sting

8 nailed in $700 drug ring

— LEWISBURG — A photographer for various Valley high school and youth sports teams received and distributed nearly 200 pounds of high-grade marijuana worth $700,000 over the past two years, according to a grand jury indictment Friday.

Thomas McEvoy, 63, 408 Center St., owner of Acephoto, was arraigned with seven other Valley residents in what the state attorney general’s office is calling “Operation Rise Up.”

Confidential informants wearing wire taps helped bust the drug ring that stretched from California to the Valley, the indictment said.

McEvoy, a youth sports photographer for more than 25 years, was arraigned before Lewisburg District Judge Leo Armbruster around 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Armbruster recognized and advised McEvoy not to supplement his income while free on $10,000 unrestricted bail.

“I’m done man,” McEvoy said. “I’m done.”

McEvoy declined to comment on the charges, but said after his court appearance: “My business is doing well. I’m not going to close.”

One by one, agents from the attorney general’s office led into Armbruster’s court Lewisburg residents Amanda Smith, 50, Sean Russavage, 32, and Keith Crebs, 33; Milton residents Henry Foulds II, 31, and Sandra Miller, 40; Northumberland resident Bradley Snyder, 30; and Herndon resident Danielle Bell, 23.

Russavage is also facing charges in Union County for a March 2013 incident where police claim he was involved in a Lewisburg stabbing.

The 12-page indictment claims a joint investigation with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Valley police began in October 2013 and focused on the trafficking activities of McEvoy and Smith.

According to the grand jury, McEvoy used the Internet to develop multiple marijuana sources in the Eureka and San Francisco areas of California. McEvoy allegedly placed orders for marijuana on a popular website and then provided the sources in California with shipping addresses for the drugs.

Between November 2011 and November 2013, McEvoy and his associates received numerous parcels from California containing multiple-pound quantities of marijuana and smaller amounts of hashish oil, the indictment said.

The grand jury found that parcels were delivered directly from the California sources via the U.S. Postal Service to McEvoy and other addresses supplied by associates and customers in Union and Northumberland counties.

Packages of marijuana would be shipped in U.S. Postal Service parcels usually in 2½-pound packages, in large vacuum-sealed bags, court documents said.

Those bags would then be re-wrapped in additional vacuum-sealed zip-lock bags, sometimes containing coffee grounds in order to prevent the discovery of the drugs due to their strong odor, court documents said.

McEvoy and Smith would meet in different places around Lewisburg, including soccer fields. Smith would deliver to McEvoy cash and an address where the marijuana was to be sent.

Agents used a confidential informant to make controlled buys and supplied a name of a person and an address in Mifflinburg, the indictment said.

Once the packages arrived at the Mifflinburg post office, the packages were held and inspected by a postal inspector and they were opened an confirmed the delivery of marijuana, court documents said.

Attorney General Kathleen Kane said the investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are anticipated.

Each alleged participant was released on $10,000 unsecured bail and will appear in court in July.

 

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