Posted by Real-Time News.
Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said Friday he's investigating the proper charges to impose for individuals who passed off powder as drugs during a series of drug deals.
Northampton County’s district attorney is hopeful to charge some of the people cleared after a drug sweep went awry Wednesday.
It’s just not clear what to charge them with at this point for selling mostly powder laced with a small amount of cocaine or heroin to a confidential informant, according to District Attorney John Morganelli.
“We’re looking at what charges can we file against not only the confidential informant but any of the people who participated in this scam,” Morganelli said Friday. “We’re looking at the crimes code and finding out where this can go.”
Colonial Regional Police officers, with the help of the Northampton County Drug Task Force, rounded up 14 people in the Nazareth and Bath areas for selling drugs to a confidential informant, court records say.
But 11 of them were released and not charged because the informant arranged for them to sell him powder laced with only a small amount of drugs. Only three of the people made actual drug transactions, Morganelli said.
Morganelli said the 11 people not charged did not realize they were duping police but believed they were deceiving a customer in a drug transaction.
He hopes to conclude the investigation in about a week.
It’s possible some of the suspects won’t be charged if they agree to testify against the confidential informant.
“We may need them to be witnesses if we’re going to go after the main guy,” Morganelli said. “That has to be taken into consideration.”
Morganelli said the scam came to light when Northampton County Detective Andre Stevens started questioning the suspects individually. The first person he interviewed told him the confidential informant gave him powder to sell during the drug transaction rather than drugs.
Then a second suspect told Stevens the same story, and then a third. Growing suspicious that the suspects might be telling the truth, he had everyone released on unsecured bail except for the confidential informant.
Some field tests on the drugs had come up negative. Stevens had them rushed to a drug lab for more in-depth testing, where the lab determined there was a tiny amount of drugs in each sample diluted by powder.
Three people remain charged after the drug sweep:
- Colby Sicher, 27, of Whitehall Township, is charged with four counts of possession with intent to deliver drugs and two related offenses.
- Christopher Janotka, 22, of Walnutport, is charged with two counts of possession with intent to deliver drugs and a related offense.
- and Dominick Nixon, 22, of Bath, is charged with two counts of possession with intent to deliver drugs and a related offense.
Morganelli didn’t identify the confidential informant, but a source with knowledge of the investigation said the informant is Janotka.
A woman who identified herself as Janotka’s mother said there’s more to the story than has been released by Morganelli.
“You don’t even know the whole story,” she wrote in an email. “You only know what you have heard from the DA. Did you interview my son? Does his voice get to be heard?”
She did not immediately respond to a request to be interviewed.