Titusville woman among 33 charged in drug operation

HARRISBURG – Criminal charges have been filed against 33 individuals in connection with a major heroin trafficking organization based in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane’s office announced Friday.

A Titusville woman is among those who were charged.

The charges were recommended by a statewide investigating grand jury, which identified Curtis Harper, a Pittsburgh resident, as the head of the organization.

Investigators determined Harper and his dealers were responsible for dealing more than 9,100 bricks of heroin during a 13-month period. The heroin has a street value of roughly $2.7 million.

“This was a case where heroin was being sold in public housing complexes where many children live,” Kane said. “The work of our agents and law enforcement partners will have a substantial impact on the communities where these drugs were being sold.”

The Titusville woman was identified as Krista Mader, 26, of 1717 Buxton Road. She is charged with one count each of possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance, criminal use of a communication facility, criminal conspiracy and dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity. Other charges against Mader include two counts of corrupt organizations and 13 counts of delivery of a controlled substance (heroin).

The investigation, coined “Operation Flood City Smackdown,” was a joint effort between the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, the FBI, members of the Cambria County Drug Task Force and other local police departments.

In addition to Cambria County, Harper and his co-conspirators allegedly distributed heroin in Allegheny, Indiana, Somerset, Blair and Huntingdon counties. The majority of those charged in connection with the case were being sought Friday on active arrest warrants. They were being sought in all of the above counties as well as Erie County and Buffalo, N.Y.

During the course of the investigation, investigators obtained court-approved wiretaps on telephones belonging to Harper. The grand jury found that Harper purchased large quantities of heroin in the Pittsburgh area.

The heroin was then transported to the Johnstown area by couriers, some of whom were addicted to heroin, according to a grand jury presentment.

The heroin was sold in Johnstown and the surrounding areas between February 2015 and March of this year, the grand jury found. It is alleged that Harper would position his dealers at a specific residence, supply them with bricks of heroin and then direct buyers to the residence by telephone.