Five individuals arrested in connection with a summer drug bust in West Mt. Airy are now one step closer to standing trial.
Warren Layre, Brian Timer, James McIntyre, Thomas Basara and Cecilia Silverwood appeared at the Criminal Justice Center on Wednesday for their preliminary hearing.
They were arrested in late June for allegedly participating in a crystal methamphetamine operation at a large, two-bay garage at 529-535 W. Sedgwick St. Each was charged with possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, a felony.
Lynne O’Brien, an assistant District Attorney with the Dangerous Drug Offender Unit, called three officers who investigated the case to the witness stand before Judge Daniel Shuter.
Officer Thomas Liciardello, of the police department’s Narcotics Field Office, testified that a tip from a “reliable source” led him and other officers to set up surveillance at the Sedgwick Street property on June 21.
Two days later, officers set up surveillance outside of Layre’s Conshohocken home. That afternoon, Layre, 58; Timer, 35; and McIntyre, 42 disappeared into the garage for approximately three hours, the officer testified.
Officers later pulled McIntyre over and made an arrest after finding the suspect allegedly in possession of crystal meth. Silverwood, 46, was also pulled over that day and arrested after several small bags of what was believed to be meth, two scales and other paraphernalia was found.
When police raided the garage later that night, the other three suspects were taken into custody. Liciardello said 44 grams of crystal meth were initially seized with much more to come.
On June 24, police returned to the garage and recovered 567 grams of crystal meth, scales, cash and three firearms. Seventeen handguns were seized from Layre’s home the same day. Nearly three weeks later, an additional 273 grams of meth was found in an old boat inside the garage, police said.
Fellow Narcotics Officer Michael Spicer and Officer Joseph Walsh with the 14th Police District also testified Wednesday about the details of the investigation. Walsh was involved in Silverwood’s arrest.
Asked if the “cluttered” garage could have simply been a place for car repairs, narcotics Officer Michael Spicer said, “I didn’t see any cars pull up and get looked at.”
The attorney representing Timer, John McMahon, asked the judge to dismiss all charges against his client. “All you have is mere presence inside and outside of the garage,” said McMahon. “You have no evidence that links him.” That was denied.
Shuter dismissed a criminal conspiracy charge against Silverwood but denied a request by Layre’s lawyer to drop his client’s gun-related charges.
McIntyre and Basara, 53, will await arraignment behind bars. Basara is being held in Montgomery County for his part in an unrelated offense, O’Brien said. Layre, Silverwood and Timer are out on bail.
O’Brien has said that each defendant could face a minimum of five-to-10 years in prison, the mandatory sentence when drugs and guns are part of the same investigation. The suspects’ arraignment was scheduled for Oct. 12. No trial date has been set.