A Chester County fugitive who was picked up in Johnstown in February was sentenced Tuesday to five to 10 years in state prison for dealing in drugs in Johnstown.

Thomas Edward Grove, 22, of Coatesville, was given a concurrent term of one to seven years by Cambria County Judge Norman Krumenacker on a guilty plea to fleeing from police.

Grove also was fined $1,000 plus court costs.

Detective Sgt. Tom Owens testified that city police, acting on a tip from the U.S. Marshals Service, had a house on Russell Avenue in Johnstown under surveillance as they watched for Grove.

Inside the house, the police found a half-kilo of crack cocaine with a street value of $50,000 to $75,000,

The police also seized a quantity of marijuana with a street value of $200, packaging materials for drug distribution and a 9mm handgun, Owens said.

Grove’s guilty plea in the drug case was to possession with the intent to deliver marijuana.

Grove had been living in the house and paying the rent although it had been leased by his girlfriend, Owens said.

Maribeth Schaeffer, an assistant public defender representing Grove, said he is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 13 in Chester County on other drug charges.

The federal marshals considered Grove an armed and dangerous fugitive, Owens said.

When officers approached the Russell Avenue house, a male – later identified as Grove – fled and ran through deep snow into the woods. He was taken into custody with the assistance of a city police K9 officer.

Deputy marshals from the Western Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force assisted in the surveillance and the arrest.


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