BUTLER TOWNSHIP — Police raided an apartment house suspecting to find a drug dealing operation. They say they did, but they found a lot more, including a 92-year-old woman living in this bitter cold with no heat and no water.
Garbage in the yard and open doors as people move furniture out of the dilapidated home along Route 309 in Butler Township, just one day after police raided it for drugs.
The raid forced a 92-year-old woman out of the home near Hazleton and led to the arrest of 25-year-old Ryan Stemko.
Tom Pilla saw it all from his business next door.
“The next thing you know I looked to see what traffic was coming and there was a bunch of cop cars right down in that house next to our workshop,” said Keystone Kitchen & Bath owner Tom Pilla.
It’s unclear how many people were living in the building, but certainly no one’s there anymore. Code enforcement found several violations, including no heat or water.
Police believe at least three people lived in the building, including the 92-year-old woman who was taken to a nearby hospital. The Area Agency on Aging is looking for a more permanent place for her.
“The 92-year-old woman thing kind of caught me off guard because I just thought there was just maybe some couples living in there or something,” said Pilla.
From the outside, it’s clear the house is in bad shape. Police say inside they found heroin, needles, and other drug items. They searched the house after investigating it for about five months.
Tom Pilla says he never knew what was going on in the house, but says there have been several problems there over the years. He said the cops usually park in his lot.
“Even on the outskirts of a town like this, it’s amazing that it happens. They probably do it. Maybe nobody thinks they could see them,” said Pilla.
Ryan Stemko is locked up in Luzerne County on $75,000 bail. Police expect to make more arrests related to the alleged drug house. Police are still investigating.