By PHILIP A. HOLMES
Soon after Tenesia Lynn Gathimbi moved into 909 Louisa St., the 31-year-old woman turned her third-floor apartment into "a stash house," where she allegedly allowed two New York City drug dealers to stash bundles of heroin, which city police believed was to be sold on local streets.
Police raided the apartment with a search warrant on Thursday shortly after one of the alleged dealers, Ibrahim Malik Stevens, also known as "Bud," was seen quickly walking into the Louisa Street property as two undercover officers were approaching him about 2 p.m., police said.
Although an arrest warrant had not yet been filed for him, the officers recognized the 24-year-old Stevens as a suspect involved in "a controlled buy of cocaine in the city" last month, according to an affidavit
A "controlled buy" is a pre-arranged drug sale involving either an undercover officer or confidential informant.
The building's owner was contacted and he allowed the officers to enter the foyer, where they detected an odor of burnt marijuana, an officer wrote in the affidavit. After both first and second floor apartments were cleared, officers went to the third floor, where the marijuana odor was stronger.
The officers determined the odor was coming from the apartment on that floor. The tenant, Gathimbi, 31, arrived on the scene, but she refused to allow the officers to search the unit, so they obtained a search warrant.
Hearing some commotion coming from a balcony outside Gathimbi's apartment, officers found Anthony Austin Gaskin, 22, hiding on the balcony, police said.
Once the search warrant was obtained, officers opened a door to the apartment. Stevens then walked out of the unit and was taken into custody.
"During the search, police seized 20 grams of pure heroin, which has a street value of $13,000," Assistant Police Chief Tim Miller said.
Officers also seized an additional 8 bundles of heroin, an estimated $8,900 of suspected drug money, four ounces of crack cocaine and three handguns, at least one of which was stolen, Miller said.
Gaskin and Stevens, both of Brooklyn, N.Y, each had a key to the apartment, and the two said they had been staying at the apartment for about a month.
"Officers determined that Gathimbi was aware of illegal drug possession and distribution taking place in the apartment. She was allowing her apartment to be utilized as a stash house" and she was being paid for it, an investigator said.
Gathimbi and the two men were arraigned early Friday morning before District Judge Jerry C. Lepley on charges of possession with intent to deliver heroin and cocaine, possession of heroin, cocaine and drug paraphernalia, as well as one count each of receiving stolen property and conspiracy.
Gathimbi faces an additional felony charge of criminal solicitation. She along with Gaskin and Stevens were committed to the Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $250,000 bail each.