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FBI eyes drug deals at Tobyhanna Army Depot

By YIPMAN, Dec 9, 2011 | |
    The FBI has opened an investigation into what appears to be a long-running drug ring at Tobyhanna Army Depot, the region's largest employer, where sensitive electronic military gear from around the world is repaired.

    At least one person, Jerrold Hahn, of Roaring Brook Twp., has been arrested so far on federal drug and weapons charges.

    The FBI said in court papers it has the names of four customers of Mr. Hahn, all of whom have admitted buying marijuana from him on a regular basis for the past 10 to 20 years.

    One unidentified customer admitted to buying marijuana and cocaine from Mr. Hahn on a regular basis, the FBI agent said in court papers.

    Another unidentified depot employee admitted in a written statement he also bought both marijuana and or cocaine about two times a month, the agent said in court papers.

    Tobyhanna, which employs about 5,600 people, is the U.S. Department of Defense's largest center for the repair, overhaul and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network.

    Attempts to reach Frank Zardecki, deputy depot commander, were unsuccessful Thursday.

    Mr. Hahn was interviewed at the depot last month by an FBI agent and a state trooper, and later at his home at 301 Donny Drive, the FBI said in a criminal complaint on Dec. 1.

    When he was initially pressed by the investigators for information on Nov. 16, he denied using or selling drugs until warned by Special Agent Joseph F. Noone it was a federal crime to lie to a federal agent and that federal agents usually have the answers to most questions prior to asking them, the FBI said in court papers.

    "I can't do that," Mr. Hahn told the agent. "I don't want to be a rat."

    Mr. Hahn later opened up.

    "I sell to my friends. I sell to a director, and supervisors at the depot," Mr. Hahn told the investigators, court papers say.

    Before leaving Mr. Hahn's house the investigators seized two firearms, five plastic bags containing about 2 pounds of marijuana, $1,755 cash and a portable digital scale.

    Mr. Hahn told the investigators he had been buying 2 pounds of marijuana whenever he traveled to Philadelphia. The court papers do not say how often he made the drug runs to Philadelphia and he declined to identify his suppliers.

    There was no answer to calls to Mr. Hahn's phone at the depot on Thursday. His lawyer, Peter J. Scuderi of Philadelphia, declined to comment.

    Mr. Hahn is scheduled to appear in federal court in Wilkes-Barre Jan. 3 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Malachy E. Mannion on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a loaded Walther 9 mm handgun in "furtherance of a drug trafficking crime." The case is being investigated jointly by the FBI and the state police.

    Published: December 9, 2011



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