Former high school star athlete among 24 arrested in Lycoming County drug sweep


WILLIAMSPORT – Two dozen suspected drug traffickers were arrested in Lycoming County on Wednesday, including three who face long federal prison sentences if convicted and a former high school star athlete.

Few details have been released about the raid by federal, state and local law enforcement. A joint press conference is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Three of those arrested are named in a complaint filed in the United States Middle District Court. Three other people who have not yet been identified are wanted in this case.

Jordan Dominque Watkins, 26, Basil Tyjae Arties, 25, and Damion Lee Bethea, 23, all of Williamsport, were being held without bail. Each is charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, carrying a maximum prison term of 20 years.

The affidavit in support of the charge remains under seal, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Alisan V. Martin said the plot began last September and continued until their arrests.

Magistrate judge William I. Arbuckle III said he was told the government planned to file an indictment against the six when a grand jury convened in Williamsport on August 27.

Watkins is currently on probation after being sentenced in 2017 by a county court to two to seven years in prison for receiving stolen property. The gun and drug charges were dismissed.

Arties had been released on unsecured $ 95,000 bail and is expected to plead guilty next Wednesday in county court in a drug case.

Bethea pleaded guilty in county court in 2014 to a charge of robbery and was sentenced to 2.5 to five years in prison.

While the federal government arrested the three, state and local police rounded up 21 other suspected drug traffickers, including a former high school star athlete in the Williamsport area.

Elliott Sean Walker Jr., 21, of Williamsport, has been charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana and criminal use of a communications device. He is jailed in lieu of a $ 25,000 bond.

He is accused of selling $ 180 worth of marijuana to a confidential informant on June 25 as members of the county drug police observed the transaction.

Walker was an all-state football player at Williamsport, also played basketball and baseball, and was one of three 2017 graduates to receive an award that recognizes strong leadership potential and sportsmanship .

As a first-year receiver at Lock Haven University in 2017, he caught 19 passes for 238 yards.

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