By Mary Spicer
Additional charges were filed Wednesday against two of the suspects arrested Monday afternoon for allegedly manufacturing methamphetamine in an apartment in the City of Meadville.
The apartment building at 440 Willow St. in the Fairview/Fairmont housing complex was evacuated after Meadville Police Department received a tip that a methamphetamine lab was allegedly being operated out of Apartment A.
Meadville Central Fire Department, Crawford County Office of Emergency Services and Meadville Ambulance Service were called to the scene in case of a fire or explosion; Pennsylvania State Police Clandestine Lab Response Team was immediately dispatched to the scene and all entrances to the complex were closed.
Late Monday night, Walter James Eckart, 30, of 774 Utica Road, Utica; Karen A. Triscas, 34, of 440 Willow St., Apartment A, Meadville; and Kandy R. McGlothren, 31, of 13118 Conneaut Lake Road, Conneaut Lake, were arraigned before Titusville Area Magisterial District Judge Amy Nicols acting on behalf of Meadville Area Magisterial District Judge William Chisholm.
Eckart, Triscas and McGlothren were committed to Crawford County jail in lieu of $50,000, $25,000 and $15,000 bail, respectively.
Original charges against Eckart and Triscas were released and they were both re-arraigned Wednesday in Chisholm’s court. During the second arraignments, Det. Sgt. Michael Stefanucci of Meadville police said that the original charges had been filed based on information available at the time of the arrest and that new information is now available and more charges have been added.
Charges originally filed against McGlothren of purchasing pseudoephedrine to be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine at various locations in the City of Meadville and conspiring with Eckart to commit the crime of manufacturing methamphetamine, also in the City of Meadville, from April 22 through May 6 remain in place and she remains confined in Crawford County jail in lieu of $15,000 bail.
Wednesday, Eckart was arraigned on one felony count each of operating a methamphetamine laboratory, manufacturing methamphetamine, possessing pseudoephedrine to be used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine, manufacturing methamphetamine in a structure where any child under 18 years of age is present, recklessly creating the risk of a catastrophe, and criminal conspiracy to commit the manufacture of methamphetamine.
All acts are alleged to have taken place between April 22 through May 6 at 440 Willow St., Apartment A, in the City of Meadville.
Because the number of charges has been increased and at least one of the counts includes a mandatory sentence if Eckart is found guilty, his bail was increased to $75,000 and he was committed to Crawford County jail, where he has been confined since Monday.
Triscas was charged Wednesday with purchasing pseudoephedrine to be used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine at various locations in the City of Meadville; conspiring with Eckart to manufacture methamphetamine at 440 Willow St., Apartment A, in the City of Meadville; and conspiring with Eckart to manufacture methamphetamine in the 440 Willow St. structure while several children under 18 years of age were present.
Triscas’ bail remained set at $25,000 and she was also committed to Crawford County jail, where she has been confined since Monday.
A preliminary hearing has been set for May 22.
Eckart, who described himself during Wednesday’s arraignment as unemployed since December 2012, said he is really living with his brother in Saegertown although he uses his mother’s Utica address as his official residence. He also said he has a problem with opiate drugs dating back a dozen years or more.
Triscas said during Wednesday’s arraignment that she “absolutely” has an opiate problem dating back 13 years and was released from her second stay in the Stepping Stones program since the beginning of this year on April 19. Unemployed since November 2012, she said she receives Veterans Administration benefits because she was in the military and was medically honorably discharged. Two daughters, ages 11 and 8, live with her in the Willow Street apartment.
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.