Avondale trooper facing drug charges

Updated at 9:10 p.m. with comment from defense attorney

The Pennsylvania State Police announced on Monday, Aug. 15, that a trooper from the Avondale barracks is facing drug charges, the result of a state police investigation.

Jose I. Lebron, 37, of Reading, was arrested on Friday, Aug. 12, on charges that include criminal use of a communication facility, possession of a controlled substance, and use and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court records.

Earlier this month, a confidential informant told police that he had been purchasing cocaine and pills for Lebron for several months. During a meeting at the New Garden Shopping Center between Lebron and the informant the week of Aug. 7, Lebron was observed weighing 3.5 grams of cocaine, the criminal complaint said.

Lebron, who worked in the state police vice squad, then spotted a white male in a red baseball cap who he believed was a police officer and asked the informant to move to a different location in the shopping center, where Lebron paid for the drugs. Police found the cocaine when they executed a search warrant on Lebron's police-issued Subaru Legacy, the complaint said.

Lebron’s attorney, Evan J. Kelly, said that the purchase and possession were not in dispute and that the case represented a sad example of someone who was fighting the war against drugs and developed an addiction. "He's checking into an inpatient program," said Kelly. "That's the most important thing right now: getting him the help he needs."

Magisterial District Judge Theodore P. Michaels arraigned Lebron shortly before midnight on Friday, Aug. 12, setting bail at 10 percent of $50,000. Lebron was transported to Chester County Prison, where he remained until posting bail the following day, court records said. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 19 before Magisterial District Judge Matthew Seavey.

Hebron, a trooper since 2008, has been suspended without pay, and his case will be prosecuted by the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, a state police press release said.

“Since this is an ongoing criminal prosecution, the state police will not comment further on this matter,” the release said.

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