Crime

Why a son agreed to testify against his mom in a local cocaine ring case

A son involved in a family cocaine ring has agreed to testify against his mother in exchange for a county sentence.

“This drug ring was selling more than $10,000 of cocaine a month — pumping their poison into Clearfield and surrounding communities,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a previous press release about the case.

On Monday, Robert Gavlak, 28, of Houtzdale, was sentenced by Judge Fredric J. Ammerman to 11 ½ months to two years less one day in the Clearfield County Jail and five years' consecutive probation for charges of possession with intent to deliver-cocaine, criminal conspiracy and criminal use of communication facility.

Deputy Attorney General Dave Gorman, who is prosecuting the case, stated that he was in agreement with a county jail sentence for Gavlak because Gavlak has been cooperating with the investigation and will continue to cooperate with the case against his mother, Pamela Gavlak, 52, also of Houtzdale.

In February, the trial for Pamela Gavlak was postponed due to the illness of a key witness. A new jury will be picked for her trial and a new date set. Robert Gavlak’s sister, Catherine Anderson, and her husband, Todd Anderson, were allegedly part of this criminal enterprise with Todd Anderson identified as the leader.

According to the findings of a grand jury, Todd Anderson obtained two ounces of cocaine two or three times a month from a contact in Beaver Falls starting in 2014. Numerous controlled purchases of cocaine were arranged by a confidential informant. This informant was allegedly able to buy the drug from Todd Anderson, Robert Gavlak and Catherine Anderson. These controlled purchases began in July 2016 and ended in March 2017.

Purchases were also made from Todd Anderson’s uncle, Leroy Bryant in Philipsburg, according to court documents. After a search warrant was executed on the Houtzdale residence, investigators found 28 grams of cocaine, more than $2,700 in cash and checks that included money used by the informant to buy cocaine, an “owe sheet” listing people who owed Todd Anderson money, several cell phones and drug paraphernalia, according to information given to the grand jury.

Bryant’s apartment in Philipsburg was also the subject of a search warrant in June when agents allegedly found 46 grams of cocaine, a scale and baggies. He told them his source of cocaine was Todd Anderson, police said. Last month Todd Anderson was sentenced to eight to 16 years in state prison after he pleaded guilty.

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