HARRISBURG – Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane’s office today announced the arrest of a Blair County man charged with distributing fentanyl-laced pills to a confidential informant.
Gerald Eugene Friley, 56, was arrested following an investigation by the Blair County Drug Trask Force, which is a collaborative effort between agents with the Office of Attorney’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation and local authorities, including the Altoona Police Department.
“We have seen first-hand the dangers of these highly-addictive and potent drugs,” Kane said. “It is a gamble every time users ingest these potentially deadly substances. That’s why it is important for us to continue working to apprehend the people selling this poison.”
According to investigators, Friley on Wednesday delivered approximately 100 suspected fentanyl-laced pills to the informant. After his arrest, investigators said they found an additional 14 suspected fentanyl-laced pills in his vehicle.
The fentanyl-laced pills were disguised as Oxycodone, according to investigators. Fentanyl is a powerful opioid medication.
The investigation that led to Friley’s arrest included the use of surveillance techniques and undercover purchases. The evidence seized will be sent to a forensic crime laboratory for further analysis. The investigation is ongoing.
Friley, 56, 1006 20th Ave., Altoona, is charged with one count each of possession with intent to deliver or delivery of a controlled substance, criminal use of a communication facility, manufacture, sale or possession of an adulterated or misbranded substance, altering a drug container or identification with intent to defraud, sale, distribution or possession of substances with an altered identification mark, possession of a controlled substance and driving with a suspended license.
Friley was preliminarily arraigned before Blair County Magisterial District Judge Jeffrey Auker and bail was set at $100,000. Friley, who was being held Thursday in the Blair County Prison, will be prosecuted by the office of Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio.
Kane thanked the Altoona Police Department and the Blair County Drug Task Force for their work on this investigation.
Additionally, Kane also thanked Operation Our Town for its support. Operation Our Town is an organization in Blair County with a mission of supporting the fight against drugs and violent crime. Individuals with drug information may contact the Operation Our Town “Push Out the Pusher” hotline at 814-693-3020.
Individuals who have witnessed a drug deal in their neighborhood or suspect illegal drug activity where they live or work can send an anonymous tip to the Office of Attorney General by texting PADRUGS + YOUR TIP to 847411. Tips may also be submitted electronically here .