A Lansdale man whose family reported missing in July, and who turned himself in to Lansdale Police on drug charges on Oct. 9, heads to arraignment at Montgomery County court in December on drug possession and drug dealing charges following a waiver of a preliminary hearing Tuesday afternoon at Lansdale district court.
Joe Sarni, 38, of 533 Walnut St., faces the following charges:
- Felony Possession with Intent To Deliver a Controlled Substance
- Four counts of Misdemeanor Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Misdemeanor Possession With Intent To Use Drug Paraphernalia
- Misdemeanor Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana
- Misdemeanor Receipt in Commerce
Sarni, a recent Lansdale resident and Upper Dublin High School graduate, was reported missing about two weeks before Lansdale Police filed the drug offenses against him.
Sarni did not reveal to police were he was for more than three months.
Sarni's previous bail was $10,000 cash. It was reduced to $10,000 unsecured, and Sarni was released at Lansdale district court.
A friend of Sarni's, David McCreary, of Lansdale, appeared at district court Tuesday in support of Sarni. He told Patch prior to the prelimnary hearing that he wanted to raise money to post Sarni's bail.
"I've known Joe for many years through the detail place at Second and Broad streets," McCreary said. "Me and my fiancee are here to support him and his family."
McCreary, adorned with face tattoos "LDALE" and a blue tear and dressed in a suit, said Sarni shouldn't be charged with the offenses he is facing in the court system.
"Joe was always involved in the community. He's not a person who gets high or sells drugs out of his apartment," McCreary said. "His girlfriend was always a good influence on him."
Lansdale Police said they surveilled Sarni during an alleged drug transaction with a confidential informant in June 2012.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Lansdale Police Drug Task Force received information from an informant in June 2012 that Sarni was allegedly selling various controlled substances in Lansdale, including cocaine, marijuana and pharmaceutical narcotics. Police said he operated his alleged drug business from his Walnut Street apartment.
Police said Sarni would use his bicycle to allegedly deliver drugs.
An investigation of Sarni began in June 2012. Police observed Sarni coming and going from his apartment on his bike. On two occasions, Sarni was followed to two different locations where he entered residences, according to the affidavit.
In June 2012, an informant made two controlled buys allegedly from Sarni of cocaine, Buprenorphine and Naloxone, according to the affidavit.
On June 25, Lansdale Police met with the informant to arrange the purchase of Suboxone from Sarni, police said.
The informant contacted Sarni via cell phone, and Sarni allegedly agreed to meet on West Fifth Street near Walnut Street.
At 2:56 p.m. June 25, a Lansdale officer staking out Sarni's apartment saw Sarni leave his apartment on bike and travel south on Walnut Street to Fifth Street, according to the affidavit.
The informant was followed by police and allegedly met with Sarni on the unit block of West Fifth Street, according to the affidavit.
At 3:03 p.m., June 25, police witnessed an alleged hand-to-hand drug deal between the informant and Sarni, according to the affidavit. Both subjects then departed in different directions.
Police met with the informant, who handed over a tin foil wrapper with an orange strip stamped "N8," according to the affidavit. The contents of the wrapper was revealed to be Suboxone.
Two warrants were obtained for Sarni: one for his apartment and one for his person, according to the affidavit.
On June 29, at 4:37 p.m., the warrant was served on Sarni's apartment.
Found in Sarni's room were the following items, according to the affidavit:
- 1.6 grams of marijuana
- A Ziploc-brand bag of cocaine
- A red tin with 16 pills marked "MR11," later identified as Risperidone (used to treat bipolar disorder)
- One pill marked "93," later identified as Quetiapine (used to treat schizophrenia)
- One-half pill of Diazepam
- A glass pipe with marijuana residue
- Various papers, including a Rite Aid receipt, a pay stub and a rental agreement in Sarni's name
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