CLEARFIELD – On Monday a trial for a Houtzdale woman – who was allegedly part of her family’s cocaine operation – was continued due to the commonwealth’s key witness being hospitalized on life support.
Pamela L. Gavlak, 52, has been charged by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General with five counts of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver and one count of conspiracy/manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver.
In addition, Pamela Gavlak has been charged with criminal use of a communication facility, corrupt organizations (two counts), dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities and perjury.
According to previously-published reports, Todd Anderson, 46, of Madera was identified by investigators as being the ring leader of the family’s drug operation. He was assisted by his wife, Catherine Anderson, 35; mother-in-law, Pamela Gavlak, brother-in-law, Robert Gavlak, 27, and uncle, Leroy Bryant, 37.
Todd Anderson sold $134,000 worth of cocaine over 12 months in the Clearfield County area. His ring was selling more than $10,000 worth of cocaine per month, stated a previous press release issued by the AG’s Office.
Pamela Gavlak’s case was scheduled for a jury trial before President Judge Fredric Ammerman this week in Clearfield County Court.
However, on Monday morning, Senior Deputy Attorney General David Gorman advised the court his key witness – the confidential informant for the controlled drug purchases – had been flown to Geisinger the previous night and is now on life support.
He said she would clearly be unavailable to testify. Pamela Gavlak is being represented by defense attorney Robert Scott Donaldson of Holidaysburg, who opposed, saying they were ready to commence with the trial.
Ammerman granted the commonwealth’s request. The trial was continued and will now be placed on the list for jury selection on April 12.
According to the grand jury presentment, since mid-2014, Todd Anderson obtained cocaine on a monthly basis from a source in Beaver Falls, and then he distributed it to his customers in the Clearfield County area.
Investigators found Todd Anderson had customers in Houtzdale and Madera in Clearfield County, as well as in Philipsburg in Centre County and Tyrone in Blair County. He arranged numerous deals at his residences on Morann Avenue in Houtzdale and Lynn Street in Madera.
Other times he used his minivan to deliver cocaine to his customers. He didn’t believe investigators would suspect that cocaine would be delivered in a minivan, agents said.
Law enforcement officers used a confidential informant to make numerous controlled purchases of cocaine from Todd and Catherine Anderson and Robert Gavlak between July 20, 2016 and March 20, 2017.
AG agents subsequently acquired a search warrant for the Morann Avenue residence in Houtzdale.
It turned up approximately one ounce of cocaine; an assortment of drug paraphernalia related to personal use and distribution; several cellular phones; an “owe sheet”; and checks and cash totaling $2,773, including money used by the CI.
The paraphernalia was mainly located in Todd and Catherine Anderson’s bedroom, agents said.
Todd and Catherine Anderson both gave statements to law enforcement, which implicated themselves and Robert Gavlak. Todd Anderson said he’d been selling drugs in order to make money to support his family.
According to Todd Anderson, his “ultimate source” was a male he knew only as “Johnny” from the northern Virginia area. To make an order of cocaine to sell, he had to contact Johnny’s “guy” who he knew as “Mike” in Beaver Falls.
Catherine Anderson said Todd Anderson traveled to Beaver Falls to obtain cocaine, and he was accompanied by Bryant and others. They allegedly made trips monthly, and the cocaine was for both sale and personal use.
She admitted to being aware that Todd Anderson was distributing cocaine in the Clearfield County area. She also admitted that she personally distributed cocaine and collected money for him, if he wasn’t available.
During his testimony to the grand jury, Robert Gavlak said he sold cocaine for Todd Anderson in order to pay his bills. He testified that he asked Todd Anderson to “short” the bags of cocaine, so he could sell them at full price to increase profit.
He said he sold cocaine multiple times daily from his Houtzdale residence to his own customers, and he would also “step in” for Todd Anderson, if he wasn’t available.
According to Robert Gavlak, he usually sold one to two grams at a time but would sell an occasional eight ball. Before the search warrant March 20, he said Todd Anderson had been selling cocaine multiple times daily for the past two years.
Robert Gavlak also witnessed Todd Anderson preparing the cocaine for sale by weighing, cutting and packaging it into baggies.
He said his mother, Pamela Gavlak, was aware of the drug operation at her residence, and it caused her to confront Todd and Catherine Anderson. He said she feared she would lose her job at the State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale.
During her own grand jury testimony, Pamela Gavlak claimed multiple times that she didn’t know anything about any drugs in her residence. She went on to say that she confronted Todd Anderson over rumors about him dealing drugs, but he denied it to her.
However, a witness later told the grand jury that Pamela Gavlak was at home when the cocaine was being prepared and distributed.
According to the presentment, state police conducted two controlled purchases from one of Todd Anderson’s distributors, Bryant. On May 3 and again June 9, a CI allegedly arranged with Bryant by phone and then purchased one gram of cocaine for $100 in Philipsburg.
On June 20, a search warrant was executed at a North Front Street residence in Philipsburg that was occasionally used by Bryant. During a search, state police allegedly seized 46 grams of cocaine, a scale and baggies used for distribution.
Bryant told state police the cocaine was provided by his source, Todd Anderson, and he sold it to various customers. He said in exchange for selling cocaine for him, Anderson would help him (Bryant) pay some of his bills.
Bryant admitted that he’d been storing and distributing cocaine for Todd Anderson over the past year.
Bryant said Todd Anderson took the cocaine to the Houtzdale residence to prepare it for sale. At times, he said Pamela Gavlak and Catherine Anderson were there when Todd Anderson provided him with the cocaine and while it was being packaged and distributed.