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Police Press Releases - 6/8/2015

Butler Township Police Announce Break Up of Marijuana Manufacturing Operatation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

           

                        POLICE BREAK UP MARIJUANA MANUFACTURING OPERATION

Butler Township Police are announcing the first phase in break of a marijuana manufacturing operation that was being conducted inside a Butler Township home.

On the evening of February 18, 2015, Butler Township Police executed a search warrant at 11 Mink Springs Court in Beech Mountain Lakes. The warrant was issued after an agent with the Pennsylvania State Probation and Parole provided information concerning the resident there growing marijuana.

Police found that the entire house had been utilized to grow marijuana and been stripped of furnishings and carpeting. There were more than 160 plants found growing inside the residence, some as tall as 8 feet. More than 50 “grow lights” were also seized, as well as sophisticated ventilation and electrical hook-ups. Approximately 5 pounds of processed marijuana was found.

Marijuana grow operations have been found to be a health hazard due to contamination from pesticides and fertilizers. In addition, due to the increased moisture, mold and spore growth are common. As a result, Butler Township Police called the Pennsylvania State Police Clandestine Lab Response team was summoned to the scene. The team is equipped with special knowledge and equipment to safely remove the evidence from the home.  

The investigation also revealed that electricity was being stolen. Some of the growing equipment inside the home was being operated by the stolen electricity. Electrical wiring, which bypassed the protections of the homes circuit breaker, was punched though walls and had the energized connections exposed. An investigation by PPL Utilities estimated the theft of electricity at $37,506 dollars.

Police tracked down tenant of the rented property. As a result, an arrest warrant was issued on March 2, 2015 for Daniel I. Lopez, age 36. Lopez was tracked down in Florida with the help of the United States Marshals Office. He was charged with violating state parole conditions on previous charges. He is in the process of being extradited back to Pennsylvania to face the current charges.

Lopez is charged by Butler Township Police with manufacturing a controlled substance, theft of services, criminal mischief – all felonies and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police note that during the investigation additional pounds of marijuana and firearms were seized from other locations outside Butler Township. Those undisclosed locations are also part of a continuing investigation.

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Economic Development

corporate-entrance-smallButler Township is home to the CAN DO Corporate Center, a white-collar business park developed by CAN DO, the economic development agency serving the Greater Hazleton region of northeastern Pennsylvania. The park is located on State Route 309 just off Interstate 80 and only minutes from Interstate 81 as well.

A variety of industries, from a website design and hosting firm to a company that distributes printing ink products, have facilities in the CAN DO Corporate Center. A hotel is also located in the park.

Many sites in the park have been approved as Keystone Opportunity Zones (KOZs), which provides tax forgiveness for most local and state taxes through 2017.

In August 2013, the Hazleton Area Academy of Sciences, a magnet school that focuses on a STEM curriculum of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, will open in the CAN DO Corporate Center.  Some of the most in-demand careers of today and the future require education in science, technology, engineering and math. STEM education plays an important role in enabling the United States to remain the economic and technological leader of the global marketplace of the 21st century.

In addition to the corporate center, CAN DO also owns three industrial parks, Humboldt Industrial Park, Valmont Industrial Park and McAdoo Industrial Park, which are only a few minutes’ drive from Butler Township.

To learn more about economic development in Greater Hazleton, visit www.hazletoncando.com.

Education

Butler-drums-elementaryButler Township is part of the Hazleton Area School District, which serves nearly 10,000 students through a network of elementary/middle schools, high school and career center. Most students who live in Butler Township attend Drums Elementary/Middle School or Valley Elementary/Middle School.

Families also have the option of area private schools for their children, including MMI Preparatory School in Freeland, Holy Family Academy in Hazleton, Immanuel Christian School in Hazleton, Marian Catholic High School in Tamaqua or Holy Redeemer High School in Wilkes-Barre.

Traditional or nontraditional college students can work toward their degrees at Penn State Hazleton, McCann School of Business and Technology, Lackawanna College or Luzerne County Community College, all of which are located near Butler Township.

About Butler Township, Luzerne County, PA

80- -81-junctionButler Township is a mostly rural community of just under 52 square miles in southern Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The township is nestled in the Sugarloaf Valley with mountains to the north and south. Nearly 10,000 people live in Butler Township, which is small enough to offer solitude but close enough to the nearby cities of Hazleton and Wilkes-Barre for local residents to enjoy larger-scale cultural events, shopping and dining.

Township residents can choose from different housing options in a variety of locations, including apartments or homes in small villages, country settings or housing developments such as Beech Mountain Lakes, Emerald Estates, Fox Acres, Sand Springs and St. John’s Estates.

Nescopeck Creek flows through the township and empties into the Susquehanna River. This river then feeds into the northern end of the Chesapeake Bay and eventually the Atlantic Ocean.

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Butler-Township-church1Butler-Township-church2Religion
Churches in Butler Township include:

  • Christ Reformed Episcopal Church
  • Good Shepherd Catholic Church
  • St. Paul’s United Methodist Church
  • Seventh Day Adventist Church
  • St. John’s United Church of Christ
  • St. John’s Lutheran Church


Other important information

District Magistrate Daniel O’Donnell (District 11-3-03)
Serves Butler Township
5 South Main St., Suite 6
Sugarloaf
570-788-1191

U.S. post offices 
Rittenhouse Plaza, Route 309, Drums
St. John’s Road, St. John’s

History

 

Butler Township, which is home to about 10,000 people today, saw its first settlers in 1784. Even before that, American Indians had passed through the area, although they did not settle there. They located on the fertile soil of the major rivers and floodplains, staying away from the History of Butler Townshipridge and valley domain, in which Butler Township is located, calling it “Towamensing” (wilderness).

Some of the Wyoming Valley’s first settlements, those along the northern parts of the Susquehanna River near Butler Township, were sponsored by Connecticut. King Charles II of England had granted the land to Connecticut in 1662 but also to William Penn in 1681. As a result, settlers from Connecticut and settlers from Pennsylvania, both of whom claimed the same lands, battled during the Pennamite-Yankee War with conflicts from 1769 to 1799. In 1799, the area officially became part of Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania-Connecticut conflict had a significant impact on the history of Butler Township. The township was named in honor of Colonel Zebulon Butler, the leader of the Connecticut forces.

In the late 1700s, families began settling in Butler Township. Some descendants of the original settlers are still living in Butler Township.

In 1809, the first sawmill was built along the Nescopeck Creek, and by 1830, several more sawmills had located along the Nescopeck Creek. Another early industry in the township was wool, which was the major clothing fiber in the early days of the United States. By the end of the 19th century, sufficient wool was being produced in the township to warrant the construction of a mill. In 1810, Philip Drum established a wool-processing mill along the Little Nescopeck near the settlement then known as Ashville and today known as Fritzingertown. Also, the first gristmill, grinding grain into flour, was built along the Big Nescopeck in 1813 by Samuel Woodring.

Butler Township was officially incorporated in 1839.

Most of the Butler pioneers spoke German, while English was spoken along the upper reaches of the Susquehanna. Although the first settlers were German, they were split denominationally into Reformed and Lutherans. In 1792, the first church was established. Services were held in the homes of church members. Both denominations expressed a desire to establish a building dedicated to the worship of God. In 1799, they pooled their resources and built a Union Church building in Hughesville (now St. John’s). The Union Church was dedicated in 1809. According to the bylaws of the Union Church, each congregation would have exclusive use of the building on alternate Sundays.

The pioneers did not overlook the need to educate their children. During the first years, the children’s instruction took place at home. They then constructed a log school on the ground of the Union Church in 1809. As with the church services, instruction was in German. Between 1830 and 1870, Butler Township had constructed eight one-room schoolhouses. The Drums school was moved in 1870 from its original site to a new location on Old Turnpike Road. At that time, the school curriculum was extended to include the 10th-grade level. In 1941, the original wooden Drums school was closed and a larger, brick structure was built across the street. The following year, the small one-room schools were closed and their students bused to the Drums school. The school directors sold the small buildings to the adjoining landowners the same year. The Butler Township Parent-Teacher Association was formed in 1955. In 1966, the Butler Township School District merged with several others to form the Hazleton Area School District. In 2001, the Drums school closed when the new Drums Elementary/Middle School opened just down the road.

The village of Drums, located in Butler Township, was named for the Drum family. It was originally named “Drum’s,” but eventually, the apostrophe was dropped. Members of the Drum family were instrumental in the area’s early days, serving as justices of the peace, postmasters, hotel owners, a county sheriff and a state legislator.

Philip Drum and his son, Jacob, came to the United States from Germany in 1738.

Jacob married Catharine Strauss in 1749 and their son George was born in 1762. When George was 12 years old, the family’s home was attacked by American Indians. Jacob was killed and Catharine was carried off by the Indians. George survived the attack and went on to acquire land in the area in the late 1700s, when he built the first hotel-tavern in the village. His “Drum’s Hotel” led the way for several other businesses to locate nearby at the convergence of three roads in Drums. Later, George’s sons Abraham (Abram) and George II ran Drum’s Hotel, and by 1873, his grandson George III operated the hotel. In 1820, Abraham Drum opened another hotel called the Stage Coach Shop in the mountains not too far from the business district. Over the years, other hotels have opened and closed at that site.

George’s son Philip II purchased land in what would become Drums and Conyngham in 1808 from Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He made additional land purchases in 1814, 1826, 1836 and 1847.

George Drum, who previously served as captain of militia for Frontier, Fifth Company, Eighth Regiment in the American Revolution, was elected as Sugarloaf Township’s justice of the peace in 1811. At the time, Drums was part of Sugarloaf Township. His sons George II and Jacob and grandson George III later served as justices of the peace in Sugarloaf Township. George III also served in the Pennsylvania General Assembly from 1879 to 1882.

Also serving in the public domain were Philip Drum III, great-grandson of George Drum I, who was a lawyer and a Pennsylvania state legislator in 1901 and 1902, and Abraham Drum, who served as Luzerne County sheriff.

The Drum family also played an important role in the history of the post office in Drums, which was founded in 1826 and operated by the Drum family for about 100 years. George Drum I’s son William owned the post office and served as postmaster. Later, in the early 1900s, George’s great-granddaughter Carrie Drum worked as postmistress of the post office.

Many Drum family members are buried at St. John’s Church in the village of St. John’s. It is because of their contributions to the area that Drums and Butler Township were able to become established municipalities.

Hours and Directions

The Butler Township Municipal Building
415 W. Butler Drive, Drums, PA
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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