New Castle News

District Judges

September 7, 2012

Hearing for ‘major marijuana’ couple postponed

NEW CASTLE — The hearing for a couple charged in a marijuana growing and distribution ring has been postponed for 45 days.

In July, Curtis Daniel Chritzman, 39, and his wife, Beverly L. Chritzman, 39, both of 260 Harmony Road, Evans City, were charged following a nine-month investigation. The probe uncovered what police described as a major marijuana-growing operation said to involve about 50 different sites in Lawrence and Butler counties.

Curtis Chritzman is charged with conspiracy, manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance, participation in a corrupt organization, possession of firearms by a person with a felony record, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

He remains free on $10,000 bond.

Beverly Chritzman is charged with conspiracy, manufacture, delivery or possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

She remains free on her own recognizance.

Following the investigation, the couple was arrested at their Butler County home. Charges have since been transferred to Lawrence County.

Curtis Chritzman was identified as the key player in the growing and distribution operation. His arrest came following the July 3 arrest of Brenhan James Skrak, 33, of 143 Muddy Creek Road, Slippery Rock Township. Officers said Skrak had bragged to a police informant that his operation was “the largest in the tri-state area.” This resulted in an investigation involving the Lawrence County Drug Task Force, New Castle police, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Pennsylvania state police.

Police have seized equipment and records of Chritzman’s construction business, firearms, the makings of an indoor marijuana growing operation, cash and more than 300 marijuana plants, harvested from farmers’ fields throughout Lawrence, Mercer and Butler counties.

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