ST. MARYS — Three more have been charged in connection with a February drug bust in Elk County which sent four to jail after police found 38 bricks of heroin and over $30,000 in cash.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, the police and the Attorney General’s North Central Municipal Drug Task Force had been investigating the trafficking of narcotics in Elk County when they heard in August 2017 that 23-year-old John “Johnny” Pistner was dealing heroin.
Police say they were informed that Pistner was selling heroin from multiple locations, including from his mother’s garage at 642 S. Michael St.
As time passed, police became aware that there were other players who were allegedly involved in the operation, including Pistner’s long-term girlfriend 29-year-old Kimberly Gier, who lives at 620 Pontzer Ave. with Pistner and three young children.
Also identified as helping with the distribution is 29-year-old John Gier and 27-year-old Johnna Borrello.
On Feb. 1st, Elk County detective Gregg McManus obtained two search warrants and served the warrants around noon that day at the two houses.
Ryan Michuck, 24, 661 Pontzer Ave., St. Marys was also charged with being present during the raid at 642 S. Michael St. At the time of the bust, Michuck had burnt tin foil, used stamped bags of heroin, and two full stamped bags of heroin in his possession.
At the South Michael Street home, police say they found 38 bricks of heroin, methamphetamine, individually packaged bags of marijuana, and an assortment of drug paraphernalia. Approximately $14,770 in cash, as well as Pistner, John Gier, and Borrello were also found there.
Police seized all of their cell phones as well as two guns found in the garage.
Police then served a warrant at the Pontzer Avenue apartment where they found Kimberly Gier with her infant child. They also found several bundles of heroin, drug paraphernalia, plastic bags with a white substance inside, and $5,289 in cash.
After the warrants were executed, several interviews were conducted in which police found that Pistner had started to deal heroin on a small scale, which had eventually grown to getting approximately $50,000 worth of heroin at a time and selling it in the Elk County area.
An additional search warrant served at the S. Michael Street residence netted an additional $14,400 and an ATV.
On Wednesday, police arrested three more people in connection with the sting, including Ryan Joseph Michuck, 24, 661 Pontzer Ave., St. Marys who is charged with conspiracy and possession of a controlled substance as he was found at the South Michael Street home during the raid.
Through their investigation, police found that 34-year-old Justin Michael Tami, of 1036 Theresa St., St. Marys, conspired with Gier and Pistner to obtain and deliver heroin throughout the Elk County area.
Police also executed a search warrant at Tami’s residence to find him and 22-year-old Rachelle Vasbinder, of 111 Alpine Road, St. Marys, there. During the search, police also found 50 baggies of heroin, a baggie of methamphetamine, a jar of marijuana, and various pieces of drug paraphernalia, including stamped baggies of heroin and syringes.
Police say there were also numerous prescription medications were located in Vasbinder’s purse. She also claimed a zippered pouch by the bed that contained 35 baggies of heroin. Vasbinder, 22, 111 Alpine Road, St. Marys, is charged with conspiracy, three counts of possession of a controlled substance, and three counts of possession of drug paraphernalia.
The search warrants found that Pistner would use his cell phone to distribute heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine throughout the Elk County area. Tami would purchase about two bricks of heroin, or about 100 baggies per day from Pistner, using half of the heroin himself and selling the other half. Police say Tami was also known to purchase meth from Pistner when it was available.
Police say Tami was selling drugs while a child lived in the residence.
Tami had been introduced to Pistner through Gier in November of 2017, according to the affidavit.
Tami is charged with three counts of possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver, three counts of conspiracy, four counts of possession of a controlled substance, criminal use of a communication facility, three counts of endangering the welfare of children, and three counts of possession of drug paraphernalia.