Nathan Abrams, 36, of Indiana, is being held in Indiana County Jail with bond set at $100,000. Police charged him with possession of almost 300 doses of heroin, a handful of clonazepam pills, a small supply of methamphetamine and related drug paraphernalia.
According to reports, borough officers followed a tip from an informant who told drug investigators to be on the watch for narcotics activity in the 700 block of Gompers Avenue, and pointed police toward Abrams’ car, an old white Chevrolet Blazer.
The lead was more than a general report that someone believed drug deals were going down, said detective John Scherf. The informant specifically named Abrams as a regular visitor to an apartment on that block and cautioned police that Abrams had an AK-47-style rifle.
“I was provided information from a reliable informant that this vehicle and this gentleman was frequenting this area and that he was dealing in large quantities of heroin,” Scherf said.
“I happened to be out on patrol and saw the vehicle that I suspected to be his. I parked around the block and walked up on him, and I saw him with heroin in his hand.”
Scherf reported in a criminal complaint that he discovered Abrams in the SUV in a parking lot at 12:50 a.m. and said that he recognized Abrams from past law-enforcement counters.
Scherf said he hid behind a nearby vehicle and watched as Abrams examined some bags of heroin. Abrams stuffed them in the center console when Scherf approached him, according to a report.
Scherf said that he called for backup officers when Abrams refused to keep his hands in sight. He disbelieved that Abrams was reaching for his identification.
“I told him to stop and show me his hands. He again refused and reached for the center console,” Scherf reported in court papers. “I grabbed his left wrist and he immediately pulled away and placed his right hand into the center console.”
Scherf told Abrams he was being placed under arrest.
“He was swatting my hand and pulling away while reaching for items near the console,” Scherf wrote. “I feared that he was reaching for a firearm or other weapon. He was flailing his arms and becoming more resistant.”
Scherf reported that he punched Abrams’ face and neck area several times, then drew his stun gun. Scherf “yelled, ‘Taser, Taser, Taser,’ three times … then deployed the Taser into the left side back area of Abrams.”
Officers Jenny Lenhart and Joshua Yokitis handcuffed Abrams when he became immobilized.
According to the charging documents, police found a 10-pack bundle of heroin in the console of Abrams’ vehicle and retrieved a 50-dose “brick” of heroin that tumbled out the door when officers pulled Abrams from the vehicle. Police said the rest was all in Abrams’ pockets: a zip lock bag with suspected crystal meth, a baggie with 7ﾽ pills, $116 cash and, all told, 48 stamped bags of heroin loose or in small bundles and five full bricks of the drug.
Scherf noted that no guns were found in the vehicle.
Abrams was jailed for the weekend and was charged Monday morning with possession with intent to deliver drugs, resisting arrest, possession of controlled substances and disorderly conduct. On-call judge Susanne Steffee held preliminary arraignment just before the courts opened for business this morning and scheduled a preliminary hearing for 9:45 a.m. Aug. 13 in Homer City District Court.
Abrams’ past run-ins with law enforcement include arrests in Armstrong and Allegheny counties and seven convictions in Indiana County, court records show.
His last conviction in Indiana County led in February 2011 to a sentence of two to five years in prison for possession with intent to deliver drugs and six months to two years for resisting arrest.
Abrams’ record in Indiana County dates to an arrest in August 2001 and a guilty plea to receiving stolen property; convictions for four counts of theft and one count of trespassing in three unrelated cases in August 2003; and two guilty pleas to possession of drug paraphernalia in June 2003 and November 2006.
In the Pittsburgh court, Abrams was sentenced to 11ﾽ to 23 months in jail and three years of probation in July 2010 for his convictions for possession with intent to deliver drugs, resisting arrest, possession of controlled substances and paraphernalia and a traffic violation.
Two months later, he was sentenced in Kittanning to serve four to 18 months in jail for fleeing from police, driving under suspension and careless driving.