New Castle News


September 20, 2013

Five remain jailed following raid of suspected meth lab

NEW CASTLE — New Castle police discovered a suspected methamphetamine lab Wednesday while answering a loitering call at a housing project.

Five people were arrested inside a Brinton Hill apartment at 809 McGrath Ave.

Brinton Hill is a Lawrence County Housing Authority complex on the city’s East Side.

City police and fire departments evacuated about 10 apartments in the complex for safety reasons and established a perimeter around the area. The residents were kept out of their homes for a couple of hours.

Arrested were Adam Brett Jacobs, 21, of 4106 Hollow Road; Jeffrey A. Shelpman, 25, of Apt. 615, 814 W. Washington St.; Richard Baynes, 20, of Laughlin, Nev.; Victoria Grace Pappas-Pappakostas, 21, of Apt. 309, 3315 Cloverlane Drive; and a 17-year-old girl.

Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa said the suspects had been cooking methamphetamine by the one-pot method, which is the most dangerous type of meth lab. He added the components all can be purchased from hardware and drug stores.

New Castle Police Chief Bobby Salem said officers had received information about a possible meth lab at Brinton Hill.

The department received a call around 2:40 p.m. Wednesday that a lot of trespassers were there, he said. Officers found the five suspects in one apartment. They said Pappas-Pappakostas is on the Housing Authority’s no-trespassing list.

When the officers arrived, they noticed a distinct odor, Lamancusa said.

Police said as officers arrested Pappas-Pappakostas, she reached for a backpack but was ordered to leave it. Once the occupants were removed, police searched the apartment with drug dogs and one hit on the backpack. They found several bottles of unknown liquids, which police believed were those used in making meth.

Salem said the police stopped at that point.

According to one narcotics officer, no actual cooking was going on, but there were chemicals and odors indicating it had occurred.

Police obtained a search warrant and officers from the city and the district attorney’s office who are trained in meth lab response were summoned, according to Salem. They entered the apartment around 8 p.m. wearing protective jumpsuits and respirator masks.

Items found included lithium batteries, tin foil, suspected lye, various bottles with unknown substances, syringes, a bottle with post-cook residue and various packages of cold relief medicine.

Those arrested told police they do not live in the apartment.

Gene DeGennaro, housing authority executive director, said the tenant under lease no longer was living there, and the authority was in the process of taking possession of the unit in court Wednesday.

Pappas-Pappakostas, Baynes, Shelpman and Jacobs are charged with two counts of operating a methamphetamine lab and one count each of criminal conspiracy to operate a meth lab; illegal depositing, storing or disposing of chemical waste; manufacture of methamphetamine with a child present; possession of liquefied ammonia with intent to manufacture controlled substances; possession of red phosphorus with intent to manufacture controlled substances; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver; corruption of minors; endangering the welfare of children; possession of a controlled substance; and use or possession of drug paraphernalia.

They were arraigned Thursday morning by District Judge Melissa A. Amodie, who set bond at $50,000 each. They remain in the Lawrence County jail.

The teen is to be charged by juvenile petition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • school.jpg Wilmington board debates ‘free expression’

    Wilmington Area school directors weighed student safety concerns against free speech rights Monday. A proposed policy on student free expression and posting of materials drew concern from one board member.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • meehan.jpg Meehan named Neshannock superintendent

    Terence P. Meehan is the new superintendent at Neshannock Township School District. Board members voted 5-4 last night to fill the post that will be vacated June 30 with the retirement of Dr. Mary Todora.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • fire.jpg Fire guts Union Township house

    The state police fire marshal is investigating a fire in that broke out in a vacant Union Township house Monday. Union Township firefighters responded at 3 a.m. to 314 Smithfield St.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 08.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Community Easter morning service

    There’s a reason why most holidays last only 24 hours. It’s because when you’re finished celebrating, there’s still work to be done. The Rev. David Young reminded everyone who attended Sunday’s community Easter morning service at Lawrence Village Plaza of that.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • money.jpg Retirements, attrition to save district money

    A slew of retirements in the New Castle School District may result in savings in the 2014-15  budget. The school district plans to introduce its spending plan next month.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fletch1.jpg No Retreat: Teacher’s golden retriever proves to be a hero, fighter

    It was last fall, and my favorite time of the year to be in the woods hunting. On this day, I could hunt small game and turkey, though my primary purpose was a hike in the woods with my dog, Maggie. This year was special. I also had my five-month-old golden retriever, Remi.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • fire.jpg Firefighters respond to gas leak

    New Castle firefighters responded to a gas leak Friday at the former Lincoln-Garfield school on Long Avenue. Assistant Fire Chief Mike Petrone said Columbia Gas received a call from someone in the 800 block of South Mercer Street about the smell of gas Friday morning.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • ATV.jpg City residents register complaints about ATVs

    Some North Hill residents expressed annoyance and frustration over youngsters recklessly operating all-terrain vehicles through their neighborhoods.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Barletto.jpg Emotional Closure: Woman sentenced in Jerry McCarthy’s death

    The driver of the car that killed a Shenango Township policeman is heading to prison. Kylee Gwen Barletto, 26, apologized Wednesday to the family of William J. “Jerry” McCarthy and to her family after pleading guilty to eight of 16 charges against her.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • fire.jpg Fire marshal probes cause of blaze

    A city police fire marshal said he hasn’t ruled yet on a blaze that ravaged two Taylor Street houses. Chris Fabian, who was at the fire scene for the duration Monday morning, said the blaze that displaced three families started in the back of a yellow, two-story duplex at 602 Taylor St.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

Milwaukee catcher Martin Maldonado has been suspended five games for sucker punching Pittsburgh’s Travis Snider during a bench clearing brawl on Sunday. You OK with that suspension?

Yes. Seems fair.
No. Baseball NEVER gets it right in these situations. Should have been at least 20 games for his sucker punch into a pile of players.
Not sure, but I’d love to see baseball be like hockey and allow two guys to fight for a while before breaking it up. Let’s see how tough Maldonado is then.
     View Results