WILKES-BARRE —Five non-city residents were charged Tuesday on a variety of offenses, including trespassing, drug possession and littering, while at the Sherman Hills apartment complex.
City police and federal authorities conducted an enforcement sweep of the troubled apartment complex in recent days.
The apartment complex has come under fire by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, who with local civil leaders formed the Sherman Hills Task Force in November.
The low-income apartment complex has been a trouble spot and the scene of shootings, drug deals and violent crimes due to what the city and the specially created task force have said has been lax oversight by the owner, Sherman Hills Realty of New York City and its manager, Park Management of Brooklyn, N.Y. It’s come under fire from HUD, which pays nearly $2 million to house tenants at the 344-unit complex.
Those charged are:
• Karen Wilson, 33, of Tunkhannock, and Courtney Graver, 33, of Meshoppen, both charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Authorities allege Wilson and Graver were in a vehicle that parked in front of Building 320 on Dec. 18. They said they were picking up a friend but did not know the friend’s last name. Four syringes, a spoon and a small amount of marijuana were allegedly found in Wilson’s purse, according to the criminal complaint.
• Quentin Marbaker, 24, of Montrose, charged with possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and criminal trespass.
Authorities allege Marbaker parked in front of Building 320, which he entered on Dec. 13. Marbaker told authorities he was visiting a friend but did not know the friend’s last name and apartment. Marbaker allegedly was found with a knife and a bag with heroin packets, according to the criminal complaint.
• Thomas Pisano, 24, and Tara Ancherani, 26, both of Scranton, were charged with criminal trespass.
Authorities spotted Pisano and Ancherani walking in the apartment complex on Nov. 30 when they were previously told to stay away. A bag of syringes were found under a cruiser. Pisano allegedly admitted to discarding the needles when the officer stopped.
• Todd Cruise, age and address unknown, was cited with littering when he was allegedly seen discarding an ash tray from his vehicle adjacent to the apartment complex on Nov. 30.
An inspection of the apartment complex by HUD in September found inoperable surveillance cameras, broken doors and windows and insufficient exterior lighting.
The inspection report classified the complex’s management as “Unsatisfactory,” noting tenants are experiencing life-threatening security issues.
Park Management submitted a 150-page corrective response to HUD.
Representatives from Park Management told City Council last Thursday that they are considering armed security guards, new surveillance cameras, a fence surrounding the 22-acre property and closing one of two entrances.
Authorities filed charges against the five people with District Judge Martin Kane in Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday.