Drug-ring defendants plead not guilty

LEWISTOWN — Two out of seven defendants pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, to charges related to a nine-person drug-ring bust from August.

Jessica L. Wagner, 29, of Lewistown, was represented by Public Defender Robert Ferguson to offer her plea, however Ferguson advised Judge Aaron Gingrich that Donald Zagurskie will be representing Wagner at future proceedings. Eric E. Earnest, 48, of Lewistown, was represented by Jeffrey Davis. Both defendants were placed on the rolling list for jury selection.

According to court documents, Lewistown Borough, Armagh Township and Mifflin County Regional Police departments used Drug Task Force confidential informants to meet with and make arrangements to buy Buprenorphine pills from Earnest in March. In August, Wagner stole a car and was pursued by LPD for that offense, as well as a previously active warrant, court documents state. Documents indicate the owner of the stolen vehicle reportedly expressed concern that Wagner had controlled substances in the car and requested police to search the vehicle; one officer discovered three zip lock bags containing a white rock like substance, 19 wax paper packets containing white powder, a small zip lock bag containing a white pill and a pouch containing six syringes, one glass tube with burn marks and a copper colored scrubber pad. LPD reported the scrubber pad and glass tube are known drug paraphernalia items.

Darren Bottorff, Brianna Fester, Derek Wagner and Julia Stanton, also charged in the drug ring, are each scheduled to appear in miscellaneous criminal court on Oct. 16.