PHILIPSBURG – A man who owned Dragon Chasers Emporium and Nirvana’s Closet stores is facing 44 counts of drug-related charges following an investigation into the distribution of synthetic marijuana and other synthetic substances in Centre, Schuylkill and Berks counties, reported the Philipsburg-based state police.
John Brett O’Keefe, 48, of Frackville has been charged with corrupt organizations, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, possession with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance and criminal conspiracy. O’Keefe was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Thomas Xavious in Berks County on all charges. His bail was set at $200,000 unsecured. O’Keefe waived his right to a preliminary hearing at the time of his arraignment.
According to the Philipsburg-based state police, from Aug. 23, 2011 through Feb. 22, 2012, undercover state troopers began making purchases of controlled substances from the stores involved. On Feb. 22 state troopers executed search warrants in three counties, including one at 115 South Fraser St., State College Borough, the former location of Dragon Chasers Emporium. State troopers seized large amounts of synthetic controlled substances, drug paraphernalia and U.S. Currency.
Their investigation revealed that the distribution of synthetic substances was bringing in large amounts of U.S. Currency on a daily basis. Search warrants were served on bank accounts for the various stores in the three counties. The State College store was depositing between $6,000 and $10,000 into a local bank. State police seized $916,982 in U.S. Currency from the State College bank and an additional $1,686,903 from the banks in Berks and Schuylkill counties.