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SHARON 3 men face gun, drug charges after raid led by federal agents



Published: Sat, August 31, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Authorities haven't revealed the purpose of the raid nor what was seized.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

SHARON, Pa. -- Two men were lodged in Mercer County Jail and a third freed on bond after a raid on three homes along the Sharon-Farrell border.

The raid, led by agents from the FBI and the IRS accompanied by state police, as well as Sharon and Southwest Mercer County Regional police, began around 6 a.m. Friday.

A police helicopter circled overhead while police blocked off streets in the area.

Local authorities referred press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney's office in Pittsburgh, which offered only a "no comment" on the raid.

The area targeted is part of a state Weed & amp; Seed effort to combat crime, clean up the streets and rebuild neighborhoods along the Sharon-Farrell border.

Some of the local police participating in the raid were being paid out of Weed & amp; Seed funding.

Arrests

The three men arrested were charged in crimes discovered during the raid. Those are all state charges and the three remained in local custody in the county jail.

However, police said other charges, probably federal counts, are pending against them.

Federal authorities wouldn't reveal why the raid was conducted or what was seized, although people in the area reported seeing authorities carry off a variety of items, including computers.

Arrested were:

UJames L. Hopson III, 29, of 1239 Cedar Ave., Sharon, arrested at his home on charges of receiving stolen property and possession of a small amount of marijuana. Police said he had a stolen Glock handgun found in his bedroom. The weapon had been reported stolen from Farrell. He was arraigned before District Justice Henry Russo, who ordered him to be held on $50,000 bond.

UMark A. Hopson, 30, of 1312 Baldwin Ave., Sharon, James' cousin, arrested at his own home on a charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. He was arraigned before District Justice William Fagley, who ordered him to be held on $50,000 bond.

URomondo Oatis, 28, of 501 Pennsylvania Ave., Farrell, arrested at his home on charges of possession of a small amount of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was arraigned before Russo and freed on $50,000 bond.




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