CNET bust ends with ‘baseball' of meth

CLARION The first major bust in 2020 by the Clarion Narcotics Enforcement Team resulted in three arrests and the seizure of a "baseball-sized" chunk of crystal methamphetamine.

According to a press release issued Jan. 14 by Clarion County District Attorney Drew Welsh, charges were filed Jan. 13 against Jeffrey Dougherty, 35, Labelle, Jonathan Baker, 38, Erie and Deandre Sparks, 28, Erie, are each charged with the manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and conspiracy to do so, both unclassified felonies; two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, all unclassified misdemeanors at an unspecified time Jan. 10 in Clarion Borough.

According to the press release, the investigation was led by Clarion County Chief Detective William H. Peck IV and police officers from Clarion Borough, the Pennsylvania State Police, Clarion University Public Safety, and the district attorney's office.

The press release states Peck obtained information that Dougherty was prepared to make a delivery of controlled substances to Clarion County from Erie.

With the use of a confidential informant, a location was designated for this sale. When the suspects arrived, they were surrounded by law enforcement and arrested.

The press release states an amount of crystal methamphetamine the size of a baseball was seized.

The press release does not provide the weight or alleged value of the seized crystal methamphetamine, but states it is the largest amount of crystal meth ever seized in a single transaction by CNET.

"The District Attorney's office and CNET are prepared to act quickly and decisively to stop the importing of dangerous drugs into Clarion County," Welsh said in the release.

Welsh, who was elected as county district attorney in the 2019 general election, added, "I said on the campaign trail that anyone elected to be district attorney needs to be ready on day one. We were able to swiftly pull together a number of agencies to keep a large amount of drugs out of our community."

Welsh said all of the officers involved in the bust should be commended for the outstanding work done in the case.

"The job's not done yet," said Welsh. "The case still needs to work its way through the court system. My office is ready for that challenge, too."

Online court records did not as of Jan. 15 indicate when the defendants are scheduled for preliminary hearings or if bail has been set.