A tip about marijuana being smoked inside a guest room at the Kaba Resort and Night Club on Route 15 in South Williamsport resulted in borough police last week stopping what they believe was the selling and distribution of bundles of heroin.
"We believe they were in the process of selling it. How much was already sold before we got there is unknown," Sgt. James Taylor said Friday night.
Before the night was over, police took into custody three occupants of the room, including Monte Dominique Byrd-Bonner, 23, of Philadelphia; Ishmil W. Harris, 29, of 930 Park Ave., and Jonathan R. Pedraza, 22, of 73 Morse Drive, Eldred Township.
"As officers walked toward the room, they immediately smelled the odor of burnt marijuana emanating from under the door. We heard male voices inside the room," Taylor said, adding that police were called to the Kaba, the former Days Inn, at 234 Route 15 on the night of June 19.
Police wasted little time in getting a search warrant approved by District Judge Jon E. Kemp. With the help of state troopers and members of the county's Drug Task Force, borough police executed the warrant for the motel room at 8:50 p.m.
It turned out that there were a total of 14 warrants for Harris' arrest, including two by local law enforcement agencies, Police Chief Robert Hetner said.
Harris committed to the Lycoming County Prison on a bench warrant.
There also were two warrants for Pedraza's arrest, including one by state police charging him with allegedly having 127 bags of heroin in the 800 block of Hepburn Street in the city on April 16, according to court records. He was arraigned by Kemp and jailed in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Police seized from the motel room an estimated $4,000 of suspected drug money from the three men. Whatever marijuana was in the room had already been consumed, Hetner said.
Police also impounded a 2005 Ford Mustang that Byrd-Bonner drove to the motel. The car was owned by Byrd-Bonner's mother, but investigators believe Byrd-Bonner "has been the primary user of the vehicle for the last seven or eight months," Hetner said.
A convicted drug dealer, Byrd-Bonner was incarcerated on a probation violation.
After obtaining a search warrant for the vehicle, police discovered "four individually-wrapped rectangular-shaped packages that had been held together by tape, and hidden under the front seat. We opened each of the packages and discovered that each one contained five 'bundles' of heroin," Taylor said.
"Each bundle contained 10 individually-wrapped packets," Taylor added.
The street value of the heroin was in excess of $4,000, he said.
None of the three men who were jailed were registered guests of the motel, Taylor said. The room was registered to a guest who was not there the night police executed the search warrant. That guest, who has not been charged, checked into the motel on June 17, Taylor said.
From his jail cell, Taylor was arraigned Friday afternoon before District Judge Gary W. Whiteman charges of possession with intent to deliver heroin, possession of heroin, conspiracy and possession of drug paraphernalia. He remained incarcerated in lieu of $250,000 bail.
The investigation is ongoing and no decision has yet been made on whether borough police will file drug charges against Pedraza or Harris.
Hetner said officers "will continue to focus" their attention on the 200 and 300 blocks of Route 15 which "continues to be a troubled spot for us."