GANT: Philipsburg Man Waives Hearing in Drug Case

CLEARFIELD, Pa. (GANT) – A Philipsburg man is facing over 30 felony and misdemeanor charges after allegedly being found in possession of drugs and paraphernalia.

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Christopher R. Johnson, 29, is charged with felony manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, nine felony counts of intentional possession of a controlled substance and two felony counts of knowing manufacture/distribute of design drug.

He’s also charged with 18 counts of misdemeanor use/possession of drug paraphernalia, two counts of misdemeanor possession of marijuana, misdemeanor disorderly conduct and summary public drunkenness.

Johnson waived his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday during centralized court. His bail is currently set at $50,000 monetary.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Curwensville Borough police were called to the former NAPA building in the 300-block of Filbert Street at around 2:08 p.m. March 5.

Two people were reportedly passed out in separate vehicles, a silver Mazda and red Dodge. Due to the nature of the incident, Lawrence Township officers were requested as backup.

On-scene, Sgt. Mark Kelly observed several individuals and was directed to the silver Mazda parked in an open, grassy area between the former NAPA store and what’s known as “The Stuff Store.”

Kelly approached the vehicle in question and observed a female in the front, passenger’s seat. She was in a “semi-fetal” position lying on her right side.

The officer then walked to the driver’s side where he observed a male who appeared to be asleep. He was also in a “semi-fetal” position with his head slightly resting on the window and partially on his left side.

Kelly didn’t open the door because he thought the male would fall out. Outside the driver’s side door were several articles of clothing. Kelly walked back around to the passenger’s side door.

He noticed the keys were in the ignition; however, the vehicle was neither running, nor engaged in the “on” position. Inside he observed baskets of clothing and household items as well as garbage.

In plain view, Kelly observed a piece of aluminum foil, which reportedly contained a small amount of a white, powder substance that appeared to have been smoked.

The foil was located just above the gear shifter and where the dash comes down to meet the middle console, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Through his years of experience, Kelly was aware that small pieces of aluminum foil are used to “huff/smoke” narcotics. He proceeded to open the passenger’s door and seized the foil, which woke the female.

Upon further examination, the officer observed “flame” or “burn” marks on the bottom side of the foil. At this point, the male woke up, asking Kelly what was going on.

The male was later identified as Johnson and when his information was provided to County Control, he asked if jails were still doing the “COVID thing” and not housing wanted individuals.

When asked why they were sleeping in the lot, Johnson said they misplaced the keys to their apartment and ended up falling asleep in the car.

Kelly then held up the foil, asking Johnson what was on it. Johnson initially stated: “wait a minute, let me clear my head” before answering that it was heroin.

County Control advised Kelly that Johnson had an active warrant in Centre County. The officer asked if a vehicle search would turn up anything else, and Johnson said he didn’t think so.

Kelly asked Johnson if he would consent to a search of the vehicle, and Johnson said “yes,” then asked what would happen if he didn’t consent.

Kelly advised that he would request and obtain a search warrant based upon plain view evidence, and so Johnson stated, “OK, you can search the vehicle.”

Johnson reportedly admitted that anything Kelly would find is “all mine,” and he would take responsibility as he didn’t want his girlfriend, Casey Lee Frizzell, 28, of Curwensville to be arrested.

Kelly asked Johnson to exit the vehicle and cuffed him, explaining there was an active warrant for him through the Centre County Probation Department.

Lawrence Township Police Officer Levi Olson arrived on-scene, and was asked to monitor Frizzell while Kelly searched and secured Johnson.

During a routine terry search, Kelly found two, rolled up bills, a $10 dollar bill and a $20 dollar bill. Both were in the right-side pocket of Johnson’s sweatshirt.

Though information wasn’t solicited, Johnson reportedly admitted “that’s what we were smoking heroin with.” In the front pocket of his pants, Kelly found a wallet containing a large sum of cash.

Johnson indicated to Kelly he had a total of $3,000 that was from his unemployment. The officer seized the cash and advised Johnson if that were the case, he could petition the court for it to be returned.

After Johnson was secured in Kelly’s police vehicle, he returned to the vehicle and asked Frizzell if he would find anything else in a search.

Then, she retrieved a plastic baggy with black eight balls on the front that appeared to contain a white, crystalized substance. She said the suspected methamphetamine belonged to Johnson.

When asked about the small, black boxes at her feet, Frizzell retrieved one and opened it. Inside the box, which was marked MICRO NC, was several small, clear glass pipes with residue.

Inside a black and orange box was additional small, clear glass pipes with residue. Kelly advised Frizzell he planned to check the glovebox to make sure there weren’t any weapons inside it.

When he opened the glove box, he observed a plastic container with a pink lid. Inside he reportedly saw it contained a baggy of a large, white crystalized substance.

Inside the glove box, there was also a scale commonly-used to weigh drugs. On the outside, it was marked “C&C 4 Ever & Always” in red marker.

When Frizzell shifted her feet, Kelly was able to observe a set of keys by her left foot, and when she picked them up, he observed three metal pill containers on the key rings.

The officer asked Frizzell if she took medications, and she said no. When asked why she had the pill containers, she reportedly opened one and stated “to hide my drugs.”

The one, which she opened, was empty and Kelly asked if the others were also empty. Then, she opened a gold container with a white, powder, crystalized substance and a purple container with a large, white, crystalized substance.

Frizzell handed both containers to Kelly, and all seized evidence was taken to his patrol unit, and when Johnson observed it, he stated; “that’s not all mine.”

Kelly asked Johnson if he still planned to take the blame for all the seized drugs and paraphernalia, and he indicated no, and that he thought there was only the foil and heroin.

Johnson went on to claim that the car didn’t belong to him, and so the drugs didn’t either. Johnson wasn’t mirandized and questioned because he was being detained on the warrant.

Johnson was subsequently transported to Woodland where custody was transferred to Centre County. All evidence was taken to the Curwensville police station where it was photographed and logged.

When Kelly took inventory, he found Johnson’s wallet contained $2,185, plus three debit cards. Evidence items were sent to the Pennsylvania State Police Crime Laboratory for further analysis.

On April 20, Kelly received the lab report, which found the burnt piece of foil with a white substance contained acetyl fentanyl and fentanyl. The small Ziploc bag marked by an eight-ball symbol with a white, powder substance also contained acetyl fentanyl and fentanyl.

The residue on a small dish as well as another evidence item contained methamphetamine and a substance, which weighed 1.77g, contained delta-8-THC and delta-9-THC.

The residue from another item also contained delta-8-THC and delta-9-THC and the crystal-like substance from the bags, which weighed 28.92g, contained methamphetamine.

The crystal-like substances on evidence items, which weighed 1.55g and 0.16g, both contained methamphetamine, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Frizzell is charged with two counts each of misdemeanor intentional possession of a controlled substance and use/possession of drug paraphernalia. Her case is currently listed as inactive.

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