WILKES-BARRE – More than 560 heroin packets with a street value of $11,000 were found inside a vehicle after a pursuit ended with a crash on South Pennsylvania Boulevard on Tuesday.
Jose Howard Lopez, 24, of Philadelphia, and Nichole Ashley Warrelmann, 23, of Harveys Lake, were arraigned Wednesday on trafficking offenses.
Lopez also was charged with reckless driving and traffic citations. Lopez was jailed at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility for lack of $35,000 and Warrelmann was jailed for lack of $25,000 bail.
The pursuit began on the North Cross Valley Expressway in Plains Township and ended on the boulevard behind the Wilkes-Barre Post Office.
According to the criminal complaints:
State police at Wyoming spotted Warrelmann driving a Ford Escape in the passing lane and not passing any vehicles for about one mile at about 5:10 p.m. Tuesday.
Warrelmann was stopped and a trooper detected an odor of marijuana emitting from the vehicle.
Warrelmann claimed she rented the vehicle several weeks ago and picked up the passenger she identified as “Eric” from the Sands Casino in Bethlehem.
She admitted to having marijuana in the vehicle.
As Warrelmann was standing outside the vehicle, Lopez crawled into the driver’s seat and drove from the Cross Valley to North Wilkes-Barre Boulevard, Conyngham Avenue, North Pennsylvania Avenue and South Pennsylvania Avenue, where he struck a Volkswagen Jetta.
The crash caused the Ford to flip on its driver’s side, the complaints say.
A state police canine detected drugs hidden inside the passenger door.
A search of the vehicle produced 562 heroin packets in a shoe box, a gas container of marijuana and six syringes in Warrelmann’s purse, according to the complaints.