Report of Erratic Driver Leads to Discovery of Forgery Operation

A traffic stop on a vehicle reported for erratic driving last Friday led police to the discovery of what appeared to be a forgery operation in Punxsutawney.

Court documents indicate the Punxsutawney-based State Police filed criminal charges against 41-year-old Sangoule Diawara and 25-year-old Tanija Ashley Scott, of Bronx, New York.

According to a criminal complaint, around 4:49 p.m. on Friday, March 26, Punxsutawney-based State Police were dispatched to the area of North Main Street and State Route 536 in Young Township, Jefferson County, for a report of a black Honda Accord with tinted windows driving erratically and striking guide rails. The reporting individual related that the vehicle displayed a paper registration that was not legible.

At the scene, police did not immediately find the vehicle and then proceeded south into Punxsutawney Borough. The troopers then observed a vehicle matching the description parked in the 100 block of West Mahoning Street and noted the vehicle had fresh damage to the driver’s side consistent with striking guide rails.

When police pulled in behind the vehicle, the driver attempted to pull back out onto West Mahoning Street, and police then activated the emergency lights to conduct a traffic stop, the complaint states.

The driver was then identified as Sangoule Diawara, and the passenger was identified as Tanija Scott. Police noted that Scott appeared very lethargic, according to the complaint.

While police were interacting with Diawara, Scott’s condition became worse, and EMS was then called to the scene.

During their interactions with Diawara, police also noticed a plastic straw in the vehicle that appeared to have suspected drug residue, as well as an open Buprenorphine and Naloxone Sublingual Film (Suboxone) packet on the passenger side floorboard near Scott’s feet, the complaint indicates.

Diawara was subsequently taken into custody on suspicion of driving under the influence, and Scott was also placed in custody. The vehicle was seized and towed to the Punxsutawney-Based State Police station, pending a search warrant.

Scott’s condition became worse while she was at the state police barracks, and she was then transported to Punxsutawney Area Hospital for medical evaluation, the complaint notes.

A search warrant was then requested and granted for the vehicle.

According to the complaint, the search located two laptop computers, numerous credit, debit, and gift cards with the names of different individuals, and miscellaneous paperwork belonging to Diawara and eight other individuals.

Police also found the following items:

– miscellaneous pieces of blank check paper,
– an HP Envy Photo printer,
– an “Inkcrypt” suspected watermark maker,
– four printed checks from a known company in the amount of $800.00 made payable to Scott,
– one check from the same known company in the amount of $3,200.00 made payable to Scott,
– one check from QVC Inc. in the amount of $1,327.00 made payable to Scott,
– one check from QC inc. in the amount of $1,489.00 made payable to Scott, and
– one voided check in the amount of $1,449.50 made payable to Scott.

All of the above-mentioned checks were dated from March 22 through March 24.

According to the complaint, police also found photocopies of several state ID’s from New York, Ohio, and Washington, as well as photocopies of social security cards, tax forms from different agencies and persons, and two checks payable to the Jefferson County District Court in the amount of $20,000.00 each paid from an account of QVC Inc., dated for March 23.

Also found in the vehicle were the following paraphernalia:

– two red plastic straws with unknown residue,
– one orange plastic straw with unknown residue,
– one white plastic straw with unknown residue,
– raw rolling papers,
– one multi-color metal grinder with suspected marijuana residue,
– one white plastic baggie,
– one small medication bottle with unknown residue,
– two boxes of yellow Buprenorphine Sublingual Film,
– one small clear cylindrical glass container with a yellow cap containing suspected Alprazolam 2mg pills, and
– one small white round pill marked V010.

Diawara was arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Douglas Robert Chambers at 11:05 p.m. on March 28, on the following charges:

– DUI: Controlled Substance – Impaired Ability – 1st Offense, Misdemeanor
– Use/Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Misdemeanor
– Possession of Controlled Substance, Misdemeanor
– Accident Involving Damage Attended Vehicle/Property, Misdemeanor 3

Unable to post $80,000.00 (10%) monetary bail, he was lodged in the Jefferson County Jail.

Scott was arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Gregory M. Bazylak at 8:28 p.m. on March 29, on the following charges:

– Forgery – Unauthorized Act in Writing, Felony 2
– Unlawful Device Making Equipment Possession, Misdemeanor 1
– Possess Access Device Knowing Counterfeit, Altered, Misdemeanor 3
– Possession of Controlled Substance, Misdemeanor
– Use/Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Misdemeanor

Unable to post $60,000.00 monetary bail, she was lodged in the Jefferson County Jail.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. on April 13, with Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline J. Mizerock presiding.

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