Operation ‘Got Shorty’ Nabs Altoona Drug Supplier Gene Carter

12 charged in $1 million cocaine and heroin ring in Blair and Centre counties

HARRISBURG – A large-scale cocaine and heroin distribution ring operating in Blair and Centre counties has been broken-up resulting in charges against 12 suspected drug dealers, one with ties to Philadelphia.

Attorney General Tom Corbett said the investigation, known as “Operation Got Shorty” began in September 2009 and focused on cocaine and heroin distribution in Blair County by Gene “Shorty” Carter.

Evidence and testimony regarding the case was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges being filed today.

According to the grand jury, Carter traveled to Philadelphia to purchase bulk quantities of cocaine and heroin for re-sale in and around Blair County. Carter allegedly purchased enough cocaine to fill small freezer bags.

Carter’s Blair County drug associates included Jessica Cartwright, Marisa Moser, Eric Weyant, Tarah Mitchem and Ashley Hess. Brad Parks and his juvenile girlfriend were identified as the main Centre County distributors.

Corbett said some of these individuals developed their own clientele of street level users and supplied them with cocaine and heroin.

As the investigation progressed, court-authorized wiretaps were approved to determine the scope of the organization and help identify suppliers.

Carter’s Philadelphia heroin supplier was identified as Michael Serrano. Carter and Serrano allegedly became associates in March 2010 after meeting through a mutual drug contact in Philadelphia.

Corbett said that Carter and Serrano allegedly used female heroin addicts to test the heroin for quality before completing sales.

Agents estimate that the organization was responsible for the distribution of 44 ounces  of cocaine with an estimated street value of $120,00 and 22,000 bags of heroin with an estimated street value of $880,000.

Corbett thanked the Altoona Police Department, the Logan Township Police Department, the Hollidaysburg Borough Police Department, the Blair County District Attorney’s Office, the Cambria County District Attorney’s Office and the FBI for their assistance with the investigation.

The defendants will be prosecuted in Blair County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick Leonard of the Attorney General’s Drug Strike Force.

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

–Gene “Shorty” Carter, 38, 611 5th Ave., Altoona, Blair County, is charged with 16 counts of delivery, two counts of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity.

–Michael Serrano, 33, 3230 N. 6th St., Philadelphia, is charged with two counts of delivery, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of criminal use of a communications facility and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity.

–Marisa Moser, 30, 2944 Schellsburg Road, Claysburg, Blair County, is charged with 13 counts of delivery, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity.

–Jessica Cartwright, 25, 2705 6th Ave., Altoona, Blair County, is charged with two counts of delivery, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

–Eric Weyant, 26, 1330 17th Ave., Altoona, Blair County, is charged with five counts of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity.

–Bradley Parks, 24, 715 E. Laurel St., Philipsburg, Centre County, is charged with two counts of possession with the intent to deliver, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity.

–Tarah Mitchem, 25, 1218 14th Ave., Altoona, Blair County, is charged with one count of possession with the intent to deliver and one count of criminal conspiracy.

–Ashley Hess, 26, RR4, Box 142, Hollidaysburg, Blair County, is charged with one count of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

–Joel Ramsey, 2221 Broad Ave., 1st Floor, Altoona, Blair County, is charged with six counts of delivery, one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of criminal conspiracy.

–Desirae Faust, 1617 Kettle St., Altoona, Blair County, is charged with two counts of delivery and one count of criminal conspiracy.

–Travis Lightner, 612 Burns Ave., Altoona, Blair County, is charged with one count of delivery, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

–Michael Lattieri, 1809 8th Ave., Altoona, Blair County, is charged with one count of delivery, one count of criminal conspiracy 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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