TOWANDA — A Monroeton woman was recently charged for alleged drug offenses connected to the countywide investigation into narcotics sales in 2022.
Pearl Ann Johnson, 56, was arraigned on March 9 before Judge Todd Carr and remanded to the Bradford County Correctional Facility in lieu of $100,000.
She faces charges that include felony manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver; misdemeanor intentional possession of a controlled substance by a person not registered, misdemeanor use/possession of drug paraphernalia and misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
The charges stem from her arrest on Aug. 17, 2022 as part of the Bradford County Drug Task Force’s “Operation Jet Sweep,” according to court documents. On that day, the task force arrested 27 individuals, including Johnson, for allegedly selling narcotics. The arrests were “a large scale drug “round-up”” of alleged offenders.
Over the course of nine months, many of the cases involved police working with confidential informants who purchased narcotics from the defendants using pre-recorded money, while transactions were surveilled. In January 2023, five individuals had their charges dismissed related to the drug sweep. In a court opinion from President Judge Maureen T. Beirne, charges for one defendant were quashed because the evidence relied heavily on hearsay and allegations from the confidential informant. Other than Johnson, no further updates have been provided concerning the other arrestees.
During the arrests, the task force received assistance from the borough police departments of Athens, Sayre, Towanda and Troy, the Athens Township Police Department, the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office and the Pennsylvania State Police.
On the day of the arrests, the task force met at 8 a.m. for a briefing on the operation, court documents show. Afterwards, the task force split into four groups. Groups one and two were tasked with arresting Johnson. Police arrived at her Monroeton residence around 9 a.m. A man answered the door and police entered the home. As Johnson exited a room, police arrested her and read Miranda rights to her, which she waived.
Police stated that Johnson consented to a search of her residence. She also told police that she had a small magnetic box of methamphetamine inside the home. Police found the box on a shelf next to a small digital scale. Inside the box were four clear ziplock bags of suspected methamphetamine. There was also loose suspected methamphetamine that was not bagged. Johnson’s phone was seized and police found multiple pieces of glass paraphernalia with residue.
According to police, “large quantities of methamphetamine that are packaged separately, and found alongside digital scales, is indicative of narcotics distribution.”
At one point, Johnson asked to take her purse with her. “Johnson was advised that if the purse was going to be taken, it would have to be searched,” according to court documents. “Johnson then consented to the search of her purse.”
Inside the purse, police found a large ziplock bag with a substantial amount of suspected methamphetamine, another ziplock bag with a small amount of suspected marijuana in it, and $2,170 in cash, court documents show. All of the seized methamphetamine weighted 126.5 grams.
Johnson was transported to and processed at the Towanda Borough Police Department, and later arraigned before Judge Carr. A preliminary hearing is scheduled today at 8:45 a.m. before Judge Carr.
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