Accused Shamokin drug dealer sent back to jail
SHAMOKIN - A Shamokin man accused of being involved in eight drug deals in the city decided to ask for a preliminary hearing Tuesday after he found out he wasn't going to be released from prison if he waived his right to the hearing.
But because police were expecting Jason Russell, 27, of 510 E. Commerce St., to waive, they weren't prepared for a hearing, and so it was postponed anyway.
Russell, who was already in Northumberland County Prison in Sunbury after failing to post $50,000 cash bail on drug-related offenses filed by Shamokin Cpl. Bryan Primerano, was recommitted on $35,000 cash bail after being arraigned by Magisterial District Judge John Gembic III on seven additional criminal complaints filed by city police.
Primerano, who filed most of the charges, and assistant district attorney Michael Toomey expected Russell to waive all the offenses to the Court of Common Pleas in Sunbury. But when Russell decided to take a hearing after being informed he wasn't going to be released on unsecured bail, Toomey requested and was granted a continuance by Gembic until 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 25.
"Mr. Russell was primarily here today for arraignment and we thought he would then waive all his cases down to the county," Toomey said. "We weren't prepared for a full hearing. That's why we asked for the continuance."
Russell has tattoos on his neck and forehead and a cast on his right arm. He was initially arraigned on six drug-related offenses relating to an Oct. 11 incident in the city.
He was charged by Primerano with multiple drug-related offenses involving drug deals on Oct. 3 (two complaints), Oct. 7, Feb. 4 and Feb. 11 (two complaints). He also was charged by Shamokin Cpl. Jarrod Scandle with drug-related offenses in connection with a Dec. 15 incident.
Police allegedly found six packets of Spice, a synthetic marijuana, hidden in a bathroom ceiling, plastic bags believed to have been used to package narcotics, a cell phone allegedly used to set up deals with an informant and $312 during a search of Russell's home.
The charges include multiple felony counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal use of a communication facility and criminal conspiracy involving small amounts of marijuana, cocaine, Spice and prescription hydrocodone.