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Photo of Matt M. McClenahen
Photo of Matt M. McClenahen

Flight from State College Drug Bust Causes Car Accident

On Behalf of | May 5, 2013 | Drugs

Humans have had cars for but a brief fragment of our evolution, and our old hunter-gatherer instincts still control our actions when faced with danger. When Stacy Henry was pulled over by Ferguson Township Police On May 2, 2013, he had three choices from the instinct menu: fight, flight of freeze. Unfortunately, he made the wrong choice, and tried to flee in his vehicle in a futile attempt to avoid arrest on both new and old drug charges. Not only did he add a fleeing and eluding police charge to his list of new charges, he also caused a serious accident on heavily-trafficked North Atherton Street on the North end of State College.

The Pennsylvania State Police had been investigation Henry, of Philadelphia, and his companion Alicia Gardner, of Bellefonte, for heroin distribution in Centre County. It is common for big city drug dealers to set up shop in rural areas like Centre County in order to sell hard drugs like heroin. Often, they will stay with a female, who may be paid in drugs for allowing him to stay at her place.

These out-of-town dealers see places like Centre County as an easy place to do business, because they need not worry about rival dealers or gangs. Also, they can command far higher prices than they would get in an urban market with greater supply and more competition from other dealers. What they apparently do not realize is that is considerably more likely that they will be caught by the police in rural Central Pennsylvania than in a big city, where they would blend in. When an urban dealer starts moving large amounts of hard drugs in a rural area, the police notice within a week or two, and there is usually no shortage of confidential informants eager to set up these outside dealers in controlled drug buys. The confidential informants then receive credit in the form or reduced charges or sentences for their own charges.

In this case, the police recovered a mere 16 bags of heroin and a small amount of marijuana, but they did find $8,000 in cash. The obvious conclusion is that they had probably already sold most of their inventory, but kept a little bit for their own use. It is possible that the couple may have just sold to a confidential informant right before they were pulled over.

Henry was not using any of his profits to pay off prior court obligations. He still owed $4,273 from a 2007 Centre County drug conviction, and was taken into custody on a civil contempt warrant for failure to pay, before his new charges were even filed. He could have used that $8,000 for a good lawyer, as he will certainly need one. Unfortunately for Henry, the cash will in all likelihood be taken by law enforcement through a civil forfeiture proceeding down the road.

Matt McClenahen is a criminal defense attorney in State College, PA, with extensive experience in drug cases.


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