92-Year-Old Woman Forced Out of Drug House

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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.


  • Sundown

    If you check out his FB page, (hey, if you go public, it’s fair game!), there’s photos of him with a very elderly woman..if people only knew! I recently went thru a similar situation where a family member is living with HIS 95 yr old grandmother..he is in his early 40’s doesn’t hold a job, prob isn’t on drugs but he has mental issues and plenty of other issues, like burning thru her money for starters, and I had her stay with me for 2 weeks while he went away to Europe on an adventure to a girlfriend over there..she hadn’t had any homecare attendants because SHE didn’t want them but dementia had set in big time and she cannot make these decisions. I had been nagging her grandsons to get her care for 3 years! She has since buried both her daughters. Between the last 5 years…I had discovered a number of health problems with her that in turn the grandson she lives with tried to turn around and blame me AFTER I finally got her to the doctor. I somehow accomplished elder abuse in two weeks that he couldn’t accomplish in 3 years! And they want to pass laws that family members HAVE to care for their elderly? what if they’re family members are like this loser above, or that clown in my family? And no, she won’t come live with me. I have asked several times. But she now has a home care attendant because I threatened to contact authorities. She lives in another state.

  • Sundown

    What an uber loser! I hope they lock him up for a long time! with all this crime going on and they are making cuts here in Northumberland County to law enforcement! Cutting their pay! What does our governor say about all this madness?

  • Doreen

    How sad for that lady. She was taken advantage of by drug dealers & junkies also living in terrible conditions on top of it all. It’s best for her that she is no longer there inhailing what ever they make, or fighting off junkies looking for drugs and being cold with no bathroom. She needs somone to care for her for a while. Thank God someone made the police aware or they figured it out themselves. I am fairly sure the person reporting only knew a tiny bit. It’s sad that her life and property were put in danger for drug dealers. Always question the elderly living alone, they made need rescuing from leeches like these.

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