New Castle raid nets arrests on drug charges
By Mary Grzebieniak
NEW CASTLE, Pa.
Seven city residents and one Florida man have been arrested on federal grand jury indictments in Pittsburgh for felony drug trafficking of oxycodone, according to U.S. Atty. David J. Hickton of the Department of Justice’s Western District of Pennsylvania.
He announced the arrests Tuesday at the Lawrence County Government Center.
Hickton said Christopher Klingensmith, 36, of 209 Vine Street, is accused of being leader of the drug network, which distributed oxycodone in the form of OxyContin and Roxycet tablets in this area.
Others charged with being part of the network include: Shannon Viggiano, 32, of 414 Pine St.; Thomas Klingensmith Sr., 57, of 607 Spruce St.; Thomas aka “Jamie” Klingensmith Jr., 38, of 607 Spruce St.; David Wooley, 33, of 10 Bellair Drive; James Cracraft, 37, of 1222 Randolph St.; Bobbi Jo Klingensmith, 33, of 826 Croton Ave.; and Larry Dorsey, 32, of Jupiter, Fla.
The indictment states the eight conspired to distribute the drugs from September 2008 to June 2011. The investigation leading to the indictments has taken almost a year, said Joshua Lamancusa, Lawrence County district attorney.
Those charged could each face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Any with prior felony- drug convictions face a maximum imprisonment of 30 years.
Hickton said the opiate pills, which may be legally prescribed, are highly addictive and responsible for a rise in the trips to the emergency rooms across the country. Gary Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Pittsburgh office said the group created “hundreds, if not thousands, of addicts to pain pills” which led to the commission of violent crimes in the communities by addicts seeking money.
Those arrested are lodged in area jails in Allegheny County and were expected to have initial court appearances Tuesday and today.
Hickton said that his office is prosecuting the case and that the investigation was a cooperative effort of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Pennsylvania Attorney General, Lawrence County District Attorney’s office, the New Castle Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police.