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‘Dragon' heroin pipeline bust nets 16 arrests

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. — Sixteen accused drug dealers are facing charges after the takedown of a heroin pipeline that sold millions of dollars in heroin in Altoona and Johnstown, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Monday.

PHOTOS: 16 accused drug dealers charged in heroin pipeline bust

Officials said the ring sold 780,000 bags of heroin, worth an estimated $7.8 million, in Blair and Cambria counties over a period of 13 months. The ring also sold $1.9 million in cocaine.

Damon “Fat Cat” Devine, 40, of Philadelphia, was identified as the ring leader by a statewide investigating grand jury, according to a news release.

In August 2016, Devine was arrested after a police chase during which he was a passenger in the vehicle being pursued. Authorities said an associate in the ring was driving, at times exceeding 100 mph, as the chase went from Philadelphia to Montgomery County and ended in a crash.

At the time of the chase, 3,750 heroin baggies stamped “Dragon,” 127 grams of cocaine and other evidence was seized from the vehicle, officials said. Devine posted bail nine days after his arrest and continued to operate his drug organization.

Stamp bags of heroin sold by the ring were marked “Dragon” because it was more potent than other heroin sold in Altoona or Johnstown, the news release said.


Investigators made a series of controlled drug buys from Devine’s associates, according to officials.

Following Devine’s arrest, one associate agreed to cooperate with investigators and buy heroin from Devine. Authorities said the person was sold heroin by Devine during a meeting in February outside a motel in Altoona. Devine was arrested with 651 bags of “Dragon” heroin in his possession.

In all, investigators seized 14,890 bags of heroin with an estimated street value of nearly $150,000 during their probe, the release said. Nearly half a pound of cocaine was also seized.

Based on the investigation and testimony in front of the grand jury, investigators said they estimated the “Dragon ring” sold $7.8 million in heroin and $1.9 million in cocaine and crack cocaine from January 2016 to February 2017.

The Office of Attorney General, the District Attorneys of Blair, Cambria and Montgomery counties, Altoona and Johnstown police, Pennsylvania State Police and the Blair and Cambria County Drug Task Forces were involved in the investigation.

In addition to Devine, the following people are charged with possession with intent to distribute narcotics, conspiracy and related charges:

  • Aaron Beard, 50, of 19th St, Altoona
  • Melissa Coleman, 43, of Stackhouse St, Johnstown
  • James Everett-Bey, 40, of Hunter Street, Philadelphia
  • Richard Govier, 39, of W Main St, Stoystown
  • Kristy Hicks, 38, of 29th St, Altoona
  • Kara Kirby-Horner, 35, of Campbell Ave, Johnstown
  • Blaine Jackson, 40, of Chandler Ave, Johnstown
  • Jaime Madden, 52, of Franklin St, Johnstown
  • Jasmine McGowan, 27, of Cypress Ave, Johnstown
  • James Miller, 28, of Ihmsen Ave, Johnstown
  • Jabu Robinson, 37, of W Wyneva St, Philadelphia
  • Phillip Stevens, 30, of Cherry Ave, Altoona
  • Travis Taylor, 39, of 1st Ave, Altoona
  • Brieon Thurston, 35, of Lenhart St, Johnstown
  • Barbara Tyler, 58, of Greenwood Ave, Trenton, NJ