Two headed to trial in bath salts case|
Thursday, August 16, 2012
By Jeff Corcino Staff Writer
Two New Millport residents accused of abusing bath salts had charges bound over for court at yesterday's session of Centralized Court held at the Clearfield County Jail.
Joshua Dotts, 23, waived his right to a preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Richard Ireland on charges of criminal conspiracy/manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, two counts; manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, two counts; criminal use of a communication facility; criminal conspiracy/intentional possession of controlled substance by a person not registered; use/possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, on July 5, Lawrence Township Police Officer and Clearfield County Drug Task Force member Mike Morris, along with an undercover agent with the state Attorney General's Office used a confidential informant to arrange the purchase of bath salts from Dotts.
The Progress was requested to not publish the name of the undercover agent with the Attorney General's Office.
The CI arranged a meeting with Dotts near the Family Dollar Store in Clearfield and the CI was provided with $150 for the drug buy. At 12:56 p.m. Morris and the agent witnessed the CI purchase a half a gram of bath salts from Dotts.
When the officers spoke to the CI afterwards he informed them that Dotts had said they had enough bath salts for the week.
Dotts' longtime live-in girlfriend Franchesca R. Rauch, 21, of New Millport, had charges of intentional possession of controlled substance by person not registered; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance; use/possession of drug paraphernalia; criminal use of a communication facility following a preliminary hearing before Ireland.
At the hearing, Morris testified that the day following the controlled buy with Dotts, two agents from the Attorney General's Office as well as several members of the Clearfield County Drug Task Force conducted a raid on an apartment at the Riverside Motel in Clearfield where Dotts was known to be staying.
Once inside, Morris said they observed Dotts, Rauch, Dotts' mother and another man using bath salts in the room.
A field test was done on the drugs, which turned up positive, but Morris said they are still awaiting test results from the state police crime lab.
Following the raid, Morris said Rauch was cooperative and agreed to be interviewed. During her interview Rauch admitted that she was aware that Dotts had bath salts for delivery and also gave a written statement to this on July 10.
During the second interview Morris said he also gave Rauch his phone number in case she needed to call him but asked her not to put his name next to it in her contact list because he did not want everyone to know who he is and what his phone number is because he does undercover work with the police department.
On July 13, Rauch sent him a text message saying she was really desperate for drugs and asked if she could buy some from him.
Morris said Rauch did not realize she was sending a text to a police officer.
Rauch had also been charged with criminal conspiracy/manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, but Rauch's attorney Chris Pentz asked Ireland to withdraw the charge saying she had not taken a "substantial step" to conspire to deliver the drugs. Assistant District Attorney Warren Mikesell argued that a substantial step was not needed, only an agreement and argued Rauch profited from the sale by use of the drugs.
However, Ireland agreed with Pentz and withdrew the criminal conspiracy charge.
Rauch was placed in Clearfield County Jail in lieu of $5,000 straight bail.
Dotts was released on $10,000 unsecured bail.