WEST PITTSTON — Federal agents with the Department of Homeland Security arrested two people Wednesday on charges they were distributing synthetic designer drugs known as bath salts.
Todd A. Morgans, 34, and Christa Lee Policare, 20, were arrested when agents raided their house at 217 Liberty St. early Wednesday morning.
Morgans and Policare were indicted by a federal grand jury Tuesday on conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, notably bath salts. The indictment became unsealed on Wednesday.
Neighbors in the residential neighborhood reported hearing two gunshots when agents forced their way inside the two story house that had a Confederate flag hanging on the front porch and security cameras mounted near the front door, a front window and rear door.
Two dogs were shot and killed. The animals were taken away by the SPCA of Luzerne County.
“I saw a bunch of cops pull up and jump out of the car,” said neighbor Bruce Tobin. “I looked down the street and we heard them bust in the door and the next thing you heard were gunshots, two gunshots. We didn’t know any of this was going on in our neighborhood. It’s a shame, there are a lot of kids in this area.”
A 13-year-old girl was also removed from the house, neighbors said.
Joe Biscotto of Liberty Street said he has complained about the house for more than a year. He said people would cause disturbances at all hours of the night, including barking like animals and yelling.
“There has been all types of activity where the drug bust happened,” Biscotto said. “People acting crazy, people walking down the alley barking like dogs, they’d be fighting, they’d be screaming at 2, 3 and 4 o’clock in the morning.”
West Pittston police assisted in the raid and kept Liberty Street closed for most of the day.
A Dodge Ram truck parked in front of the house was searched.
According to the indictment, Morgans and Policare conspired to distribute 7,000 grams or more of a mixture or substance known as bath salts since December 2011. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of the property, a bank account in the name of Morgans, a 2005 Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck, and $700,000.
The indictment does not say the source of the money or how Morgans and Policare obtained the substance.
Morgans and Policare appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Malachy E. Mannion in Scranton late Wednesday morning. They are being held pending a detention hearing at a later date.
In October 2011, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration issued an order designating certain synthetic substances illegal under the Controlled Substance Act.
“Nothing could be worse than bath salts,” Biscotto said. “All drugs are bad but bath salts, it alters your behavior and makes people crazy. I’m glad police came and made the arrests. They did a great job.”