Johnston Waives Hearing in Child Endangerment Case

CLEARFIELD – A local woman has been accused of having her one-year-old child within reach of various drugs, needles, a firearm and other dangerous items.

Amber Rose Johnston, 34, of Curwensville has been charged by Officer Craig A. Kanour of the Lawrence Township police with felony endangering the welfare of children.

She’s also been charged with misdemeanor recklessly endangering another person, intentional possession of a controlled substance and use/possession of drug paraphernalia.

Johnston waived her right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday during centralized court at the Clearfield County Jail. Her bail is set at $50,000 monetary.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, on Jan. 14, officers were requested to assist state parole agents with locating John L. Irwin, who was wanted by state parole. Officers learned Irwin was possibly at Alen Erskine’s residence at 128 Hill St., Clearfield.

Upon arrival on-scene, Agent Keith Summerson asked two individuals if Irwin was there. Both said yes and that officers could come inside. Upstairs, he saw Irwin sitting on a cooler; Erskine and Johnston were on a bed with their one-year-old child.

When Irwin was taken into custody, agents saw multiple items of drugs and paraphernalia “within an arm’s reach of him.”  This prompted Kanour to request to enter the bedroom with Summerson.

In plain view on a work bench, Kanour allegedly saw multiple capped hypodermic needles, a glass pipe with a burnt residue, a glass jar with a bag of a small amount of marijuana, a bag of methamphetamine and multiple burnt spoons with a white powdery substance.

Inside a black box, Summerson discovered a Raven Arms .25-caliber pistol, which allegedly had its serial number scratched off, with a loaded magazine with approximately six bullets.  He also saw two tablets with drug-related information and two cell phones.

Underneath the work bench, officers discovered a black lockbox that was bolted to the floor. Johnston stated she had purchased the safe and it belonged to her. She willingly opened the safe with a key and it allegedly contained approximately $2,300.

Inside the safe was a can of corn beef hash that had a “false bottom,” which police said is commonly used to store controlled substances. In the can were approximately 28 small bags, which were marked “Undertaker” and “Cobra,” of suspected heroin.

There were nine more bags of suspected heroin inside a black zipper pouch. Also, inside the safe, there was a glass jar with two bags of suspected mushrooms; there were approximately nine unknown, orange pills and two-and-a-half unknown, white pills.

Johnston told officers that everything inside the safe belonged to Irwin, except for some loose cash. She also said that the firearm, which authorities had located in the room, belonged to Irwin.

While Irwin was in the custody of a second parole agent downstairs, he reportedly admitted that anything found in the bedroom belonged to him.

Irwin, 35, of SCI Rockview has been charged with a felony count each of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver and possession of firearm with manufacturer number altered.

Irwin has also been charged with a misdemeanor count each of intentional possession of a controlled substance and use/possession of drug paraphernalia.

Erskine, 37, of Clearfield has been charged with felony endangering the welfare of children and misdemeanor recklessly endangering another person, intentional possession of a controlled substance and use/possession of drug paraphernalia.

Irwin and Erskine previously waived their rights to preliminary hearings, and their cases have been transferred to the Clearfield County Court of Common Pleas.

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