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Drug Bust in Altoona

August 24th, 2007 by Altoona Star Staff

On July 26 at 6:05 p.m., West Central Drug Task Force officers assisted by the Altoona Police Department conducted a search of a home they believed to be involved with the making, using, and selling of illegal drugs.At 2028 Hayden Avenue, the home of Steven R. Placek, 47, his son Steven A. Placek, 20, and Stephany L. Sears, 46, was searched. Two arrests were made and the younger Placek was taken into custody as a suspect in the case.The elder Placek has been in trouble with the law since 1993, when he was found guilty of manufacturing THC. In 1999, he was found guilty of possession of THC, which was his second offense, and he was also found guilty of manufacturing with intent to deliver THC for the second time.In 2006, he was in Eau Claire County court on two different charges; he was found guilty of again manufacturing with intent to deliver THC and he was also found guilty of disposing of garbage on city property.Placek’s son is now in the same situation, being charged with manufacturing with intent to deliver narcotics. He was also found guilty of two misdemeanors: possession of THC and possession of drug paraphernalia. He, along with Ryan L. Solfest, 20, of Eau Claire, is being charged with a felony count of first-degree reckless homicide. Both men are being charged in connection with the May 14 drug overdose death of 16-year-old Sean Lewis of Eau Claire. Authorities said they were called May 14 to a Town of Washington home on a report of a 16-year-old male who overdosed on drugs. Lewis, the victim, was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Solfest is also being charged with two felony counts of delivery of narcotics and a felony count of bail jumping.Sears, the mother of the younger Placek, is also being charged and was arrested during the search for manufacturing with intent to deliver narcotics, and maintaining a drug trafficking place.A $1,000 case bail was set for Solfest, who remains in Eau Claire County Jail on probation hold. The younger Placek is free on a $2,500 signature bond.A witness said she saw Lewis take pills, which she believed were methadone. Another witness said she had seen Lewis buy the methadone from 2028 Hayden Avenue in Altoona.The younger Placek told police he sold Solfest 20 methadone tablets on July 26 and on May 12 or 13. He also said that Lewis was with Solfest during the May transaction.Placek also informed police that he got the methadone tablets from his mother, Sears. Sears was charged with delivery of narcotics and maintaining a drug trafficking place, and is free on a $2,500 signature bond.If convicted, Solfest could be sentenced to up to 48 years in prison. Sears will face a maximum of 35 years in prison while her son could face 11½ years if convicted.

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