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The Progress Home >> Monday, February 15, 2010 - 'Operation Drive Thru' defendant to serve additional years for drugs

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'Operation Drive Thru' defendant to serve additional years for drugs
Monday, February 15, 2010
A Curwensville man who is presently incarcerated in the State Correctional Institution serving a one- to four-year sentence on a probation violation will be serving an additional sentence on top of that.
Rick Wilkinson, 46, a member of the "Operation Drive Thru" drug ring, pleaded guilty before Clearfield County President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman on Feb. 8. On charges of possession with intent to deliver, specifically cocaine, and criminal conspiracy/possession with intent to deliver, he was ordered to serve three to six years consecutive to the sentence presently being served.
He received a $1 fine on each charge, is to refrain from the use and possession of alcohol and controlled substances, not enter places that serve alcohol, attend counseling as recommended by his probation officer and fully cooperate with the trial of any co-defendants.
Dave Gorman, the prosecutor from the attorney general's office, told the court part of the plea agreement included that there will be no forfeiture of his assets nor the assets of Wilkinson Subaru, Curwensville. He noted there was no evidence that his drug activities had anything to do with the business.
Wilkinson was arrested following a lengthy investigation into a drug organization allegedly headed by Michael Styers, who would travel to Philadelphia and other cities for drugs for resale in Clearfield County. The investigation was titled "Operation Drive Thru," as allegations were that Charles and Danielle Gearhart were selling drugs to people from the window of their mobile home.
A trial for five other defendants was to be held in July; however, it was canceled, as the attorney for the commonwealth, Gorman, failed to provide defense attorneys with copies of grand jury testimony against their clients by a certain date. There were 30 witnesses present to testify during the trial and a decision to continue with it is under appeal by the commonwealth. Those still pending trial are Charles Gearhart, Michael Gearhart, Kenneth Smeal, Michael Styers and Maharaji Hemingway.
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Clearfield County President Judge Fredric J. Ammerman presided over a sentencing of a Norristown man who was found guilty at a jury trial of bringing drugs into the State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale.
Richard Civitello, 36, 430 Wandover Drive, Norristown, was ordered to serve a mandatory sentence of two to four years in the Western Diagnostic Classification Center on a charge of contraband to a confined person.
He received a $1 fine, is to attend counseling as recommended by his probation officer and submit to DNA testing at a cost of $250.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on July 17, 2008, Civitello went to SCI-Houtzdale to visit an inmate. Civitello was observed on video transferring a white and blue container to the inmate, who placed the items in his shirt and eventually in his crotch area.
The inmate also ingested two pills. When interviewed by an officer at the prison, Civitello admitted to providing the inmate with six Percocet pills.
The court imposed the mandatory sentence as requested by the commonwealth; however, it states he doesn't appear to be a danger to the public and that Civitello just really screwed up.
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