COCAINE AND CASH SEIZED DURING SEARCH WARRANT
On Thursday, January 14, 2021, at 2:35PM, the Hazleton Police Narcotics Unit and HPD Patrol Officers, as part of the Luzerne County Drug Task Force and in coordination with the US Drug Enforcement Administration, executed a search warrant at 235 East Chestnut Street, 2nd Floor Apartment which resulted in two arrests and the seizure of a large amount of cocaine, suspected fentanyl, cash, and packaging/processing materials. Randi Torres-Irizarry, 44, of Hazleton and Luis Lucas-Castillo, 39, of Hazle Township, were taken into custody during the operation.
A narcotics investigation into the sale and distribution of cocaine began during April 2020. Between November 2020 and January 13, 2021, controlled purchases of cocaine, surveillance, and a traffic stop were conducted in which Torres-Irizarry identified himself as Octavio Almodovar-Rivera. Surveillance revealed Torres-Irizarry was consistently distributing cocaine from his residence and in the immediate area.
During the search warrant, 173 grams of cocaine, 66 grams of suspected heroin and/or fentanyl, over $17,500.00 in US Currency, over 20 cell phones, digital scales, plastic baggies, other packaging materials and documentation were seized. Upon contact with Torres-Irizarry, police found that he had attempted to discard a large amount of cocaine from several plastic bags into the toilet.
Torres-Irizarry was charged with Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine, Tampering with Evidence, and several counts of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was arraigned by Magistrate Joseph Halesey who set his bail at $150,000.00 straight. Torres-Irizarry was found to have an US Immigration Customs Enforcement detainer for being a previously deported felon. He was transported to the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.
Lucas-Castillo was found to be in possession of a small amount of cocaine, over $5000.00 in US Currency, and three cell phones. He was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, cocaine, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Lucas-Castillo was released from police custody and the investigation is continuing.
The actions of the Officers of the Hazleton Police Department and Agents of the DEA demonstrate the effectiveness of coordinated efforts in illegal narcotics enforcement. Interagency cooperation is a key element to providing safety and security to the citizens of the City of Hazleton. The Hazleton Police Department is dedicated to conducting thorough investigations into any illegal activity and prosecuting those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.