Hotel drug busts lands man over six years in prison

Dealing methamphetamine out of two county hotels has landed a Meadville man in state prison.

Jonathan E. Crowell, 50, was sentenced by Judge Gregory Hammond Friday morning.

According to Warren County detectives, “We got information that there were two individuals selling methamphetamine out of the Budget Lodge. They were staying in rooms there.”

After investigating, officers of the Warren County Drug Task Force secured search warrants — two for the Mead Twp. hotel and one for an involved vehicle. Officers reported finding about 4 ounces of methamphetamine, assorted drug paraphernalia, and cash.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, the co-defendant told officers that Crowell had placed methamphetamine in her bags and in her room and given her the task of selling the drugs in Warren County.

Crowell told officers there was methamphetamine located “in his room at the Budget Lodge and he and (the co-defendant) had “arranged for the distribution of the methamphetamine,” officers said in the affidavit.

In March, Pennsylvania State Police charged Crowell and the same co-defendant with several drug-related offenses after a joint investigation with the Warren County Drug Task Force.

According to the affidavit in that case, about 2.5 pounds of methamphetamine were recovered from rooms rented by Crowell at Quality Inn.

Crowell’s attorney, Elizabeth Feronti, told the court Friday that her client has “absolutely no prior record” but is here at 50-years-old facing serious felony charges. “COVID hits, he has no job and here we are.”

She called it a “bizarre case” but stressed that Crowell has had some time to reflect and wants to make himself into a productive citizen.

First Assistant District Attorney Cody Brown said Crowell is “not the normal drug dealer we see” but “still must be held accountable for his actions.”

Crowell declined to comment.

Hammond told him he appreciated the nightmare of addiction but said it is harder to appreciate when using the addiction of others for economic gain.

“You and your co-defendant were clearly open for business,” he said. What’s “more bizarre and troubling,” he continued, is that they set up shop at a hotel on the other side of town. “You’re back at it.

“That’s the bizarre part of this case,” he said.

Hammond sentenced Crowell to 45 to 90 months incarceration with credit for 278 days time served, $725 in fees, to undergo a drug and alcohol evaluation and comply with recommendations and submission of a DNA sample on a count of conspiracy (possession with intent to deliver as well as four to eight months incarceration on a count of criminal use of a communications facility. At a second docket, he was sentenced to 29 to 38 months incarceration and $225 in fees on a count of possession with intent to deliver.


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