A Philadelphia man who was a passenger in a car containing more than $100,000 worth of heroin, cocaine and firearms never left Lycoming County Prison for his preliminary hearing Tuesday morning because he wanted a private attorney, not a county public defender, according to a court official.
David Emanuel Collins Jr., 23, was scheduled to appear before District Judge James G. Carn but didn't, according to Assistant District Attorney Aaron Biichle. Carn has not rescheduled the hearing and Biichle said it was not likely to occur before next year.
Collins was taken into custody about 2:20 p.m. Dec. 3 by Old Lycoming Township police Sgt. Detective Christopher Kriner who stopped a vehicle on Interstate 180 near Maynard Street after one of the passengers made an evasive action by dipping his head down. The stop took place about the same time a masked man robbed the M&T Bank, 2001 W. Fourth St.
When conducting interviews with the occupants in the car, Kriner determined that Collins was wanted for assault by Philadelphia police, and Collins was taken into custody, according to the police affidavit.
Two of the other men in the car, the driver, Timothy D. Eiland, 23, and a second passenger, Durward Anthony Allen, 21, both of Philadelphia, were released but since have been sought for their connection to the drugs and firearms found in the vehicle.
"It's my understanding none of the individuals in the car were involved in the bank robbery," Biichle said.
Facing numerous drug and firearms-related offenses, Collins remained in the County Prison in lieu of $750,000 bail. Collins is seeking private counsel, Biichle said.
The quarter-pound of heroin seized was worth in excess of $100,000 and was hidden in a passenger section and trunk, and was considered one of the largest single seizures in the county's history, according to Lycoming County District Attorney Eric R. Linhardt. An estimated $3,000 worth of cocaine and two loaded stolen handguns also were confiscated from the vehicle after it was searched the following day.