The “Operation Drive Thru” drug ring brought vast quantities of illegal drugs into the area. Michael C. Styers, 54, formerly of Clearfieldwas the center of the ring but when he was incarcerated, Charles Gearhart, 41, Woodland, ran the organization. The source in Philadelphiawas Maharaji “Bean” Hemingway, 34, Philadelphia, according to testimony in the trial.
In January all three men were found guilty of several counts of various drug charges including delivery of controlled substances, possession with intent to deliver controlled substances, criminal conspiracy, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, corrupt organizations and criminal use of communication facilities.
On Thursday Judge Fredric J. Ammerman sentenced Styers to a total of 22 to 44 years in state prison and fined him $90,009. Styers’s long sentence was due to his prior record, Ammerman said referring to Styers as a “career criminal”.
Styers had two prior convictions under the drug act which added to his mandatory sentences. These new sentences will run consecutive to any probation or parole sentences. Before hearing his sentence, Styers addressed the court stating he accepted responsibility for his actions.
Gearhart received a total of 11to 18 years in state prison and was fined over $186,000.
Hemingway was sentenced to 17 to 26 years in prison and was fined over $155,000.
Styers, Gearhart and Hemmingway will remain in the Clearfield County Jail for ten days to allow them to discuss possible post sentence motions and appeals with their attorneys.
Prior to sentencing Dave Gorman who prosecuted the case for the attorney general’s office, asked Ammerman to sentence Styers to “spend the rest of his life in jail.” He noted that Styers continued to operate his drug business although he was on various types of supervision including while he was in a half-way house. Styers didn’t think about the impact the cocaine would have on others, Gorman stated.
Gorman asked for a significant sentence for Hemingway who was the supplier of the large quantities of drugs that were brought into the area. He pointed out that Hemingway had a history of violence and threats. Lance Marshall, attorney for Hemingway, responded that Hemingway was not charged for threatening anyone.
The charges stem from an investigation into a drug organization allegedly headed by Styers, who traveled intoPhiladelphia, Pittsburgh or Wilkes-Barre to acquire drugs for resale inClearfieldCounty. The investigation was known as “Operation Drive Thru,” because according to grand jury testimony, Charles and Danielle Gearhart were allegedly selling to numerous customers who drove their vehicles up to a window of their mobile home on an almost daily basis. Over a dozen people were arrested in connection with this case, many of which later testified at the trial.
Last week Danielle Gearhart, 39,Woodland, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (cocaine) and criminal conspiracy. She was sentenced to four months to one year in jail and three years consecutive probation.