11 Charged in ‘Operation Postage Stamp’ for Smuggling Suboxone into Jail

Eleven charged in “Operation Postage Stamp;” Drugs smuggled into Carbon County Prison under stamps

HARRISBURG – Acting Attorney General Bill Ryan and Carbon County District Attorney Gary Dobias today announced charges against eleven suspects, including five inmates, who allegedly smuggled prescription narcotics into the Carbon County Correctional Facility via the inmates’ incoming mail.

The investigation, known as “Operation Postage Stamp” began in January 2011 after the Warden at the Carbon County Correctional Facility intercepted three letters containing a Suboxone underneath the letters’ stamps.

Ryan noted that Suboxone, a Schedule III prescription narcotic used to treat heroin addiction, was commonly produced in pill form, but now is being manufactured in thin film like strips very similar to the popular breath freshening strips.

The charges state that the intercepted letters were addressed to inmates Michael Kent, Kermit Sponheimer and Chad Hartsell.

According to the criminal complaint, agents reviewed and intercepted numerous telephone conversations recorded from the prison phones and were able to identify two additional inmates and six others, family members and/or girlfriends who were allegedly conspiring to smuggle the Suboxone into the prison.

The charges state that Suboxone was smuggled into the prison by the following individuals:

. Kristin Gemmel     —————–>   Inmate Chad Hartsell
. Kaitlyn Hill            —————–>   Inmate Daniel Thorpe
. Georgetta Perez    —————–>   Inmate Michael Kent
. Michael Dennis & Kristin Tyahla ————–> Inmate James Dennis
. Kory Sponheimer  —————–>   Inmate Kermit Sponheimer

Ryan thanked the Carbon County Correctional Facility and Carbon County District Attorney Gary Dobias for their assistance with the investigation.

The case will be prosecuted in Carbon County by District Attorney Gary Dobias’ Office.

Below is a list of the defendants and the charges against them.

–Chad Hartsell, 29, currently incarcerated in the Carbon County Correctional Facility, 331 Broad St., Nesquehoning, is charged with one count of criminal attempt to possess controlled substance contraband by prisoner, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess controlled substance contraband by a prisoner, one count of criminal attempt to unlawfully posses controlled substance and one count of criminal solicitation to commit contraband to confined persons.

–Kristin Gemmel, 26, 625 Franklin Ave., Palmerton, Carbon County, is charged with one count of furnishing controlled substance contraband to confined persons, one count of criminal conspiracy to furnish controlled substance contraband to confined persons and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

–Daniel Thorpe, 25, currently incarcerated in the Carbon County Correctional Facility, 331 Broad St., Nesquehoning, is charged with two counts of criminal attempt to possess controlled substance contraband by prisoner, one count of criminal conspiracy to commit possession of controlled substance contraband by prisoner, one count of criminal solicitation to commit contraband to confined persons and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

–Kaitlyn Hill, 22, 1763 Hemlock Drive, Lehighton, Carbon County, is charged with one count of criminal attempt to commit controlled substance contraband to confined persons, one count of criminal conspiracy to commit controlled substance contraband to confined persons and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

–Michael Kent, 25, currently incarcerated in the Carbon County Correctional Facility, 331 Broad St., Nesquehoning, is charged with one count of criminal attempt to possess controlled substance contraband by prisoner, one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of criminal conspiracy to possess controlled substance contraband by prisoner.

–Gerogetta Perez, 49, 239 E. Catawissa St., Nesquehoning, Carbon County, is charged with one count of furnishing controlled substance contraband to confined persons, one count of criminal conspiracy to furnish controlled substance contraband to confined persons and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

–James Dennis, 25, currently incarcerated in the Lehigh County Prison, 38 N. 4th St., Allentown, is charged with one count of possession of controlled substance contraband by prisoner, one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of criminal conspiracy to possess controlled substance contraband by prisoner.

–Michael Dennis, 24, 725 North First St., Lehighton, Carbon County, is charged with one count of criminal attempt to furnish controlled substance contraband to confined persons, one count of criminal conspiracy to commit controlled substance contraband to confined persons and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

–Kristin Tyahla, 22, 12 A Fairyland Road, Lehighton, Carbon County, is charged with one count of furnishing controlled substance contraband to confined persons, one count of criminal conspiracy to furnish controlled substance contraband to confined persons and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

–Kermit Sponheimer, 59, currently incarcerated in the Carbon County Correctional Facility, 331 Broad St., Nesquehoning, is charged with one count of criminal attempt to possess controlled substance contraband by prisoner, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess controlled substance contraband by prisoner, one count of criminal attempt to commit unlawful possession of controlled substance and one count of criminal solicitation to commit contraband to confined persons.

–Kory Sponheimer, 23, 151 W. Columbus Ave., Nesquehoning, Carbon County, is charged with one count of furnishing controlled substance contraband to confined persons, one count of criminal conspiracy to furnish controlled substance contraband to confined persons and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)


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2 Comments

  1. ashleigh spain says:

    i am the mother of two kids logan kent an gianna kent father is in carbon county jail name michael kent who was charged with this trug bust also michael kents mother getta pereze i know michael kent will be in an out of jail the rest of his life he will always be on drugs an do pills his mother also has givin michael kent her pills it is not any thing new but i would like to see some thing good they are not good role models to my kids an they should not see things like this going on as a mother michael kent an his mother getta will always live the life with pills an other drugs mike will never change they always are on drugs

  2. heather spain says:

    I am the aunt of logan and gianna kent.I am very aware of the drugs going on in the home. I have visited my sister ashley spain at the pereze home i have seen the conditions that my sister and my neice and nephew have lived under i am so glad that they have these two off the streets. I am also glad that my sister was able to prove to those who have been involved includeing the nesquehoning police an dhs that that she was able to get herself an her children out of those bad circumstances before this all happend. They have minipulated and kept her children at times she had tried to get out. My sister has moved on and the children and are living a much safer and better life .

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