3 charged for roles in woman’s fatal overdose

From staff reports

Felony charges have been filed against a Tionesta man and two Shippenville residents in connection with their roles in the overdose death last year of a Clarion County woman.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the charges Friday against Dustin Schmader, 27, of Mealy Lane in Tionesta; and Richard Ganci III, 28, and Shayla Ganci, 29, both of Route 322, Shippenville.

All three are accused of being involved in the delivery of fentanyl to Megan McLean, 22, of Limestone Township, on Feb. 24, 2017, one day before she died of an overdose.

The charges against Schmader include drug delivery resulting in death, a first-degree felony.

A press release from Shapiro said that Pennsylvania State Police, with assistance from a statewide investigating grand jury, learned through phone records and witness statements that the Gancis had purchased 50 bags of heroin from a source near Berlin in Somerset County.

Schmader paid for the drugs and all three defendants used the drugs together, the press release said.

Schmader delivered three bags of fentanyl to McLean on Feb. 24, 2017, and the same bags were found at the scene of her death the next day, the press release said. All three defendants confessed to delivering the drugs, according to the press release.

“If you give someone drugs and it causes their death, you’re facing a first-degree felony and jail,” Shapiro said. “I am using every tool we have to hold dealers who sell heroin, fentanyl and other deadly drugs accountable for the pain and death they’re causing across Pennsylvania. Where it’s appropriate, that includes the charge of drug delivery resulting in death,” the attorney general added.

In addition to the drug delivery resulting in death charge, Schmader is also charged with delivery of a controlled substance and other felonies. His bail was set at $100,000.

The Gancis are both charged with two felony counts of manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver and one felony count of conspiracy-manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver.

Bail for Shayla Ganci was set at $50,000, and bail for Richard Ganci is pending.

The preliminary hearing for the three defendants is scheduled Tuesday. The case will be jointly prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Marnie Sheehan-Balchon and Clarion County District Attorney Mark Aaron.

Shapiro credited state police, Aaron, the Clarion County Drug Task Force and grand jury members for their help “in bringing these drug dealers to justice.”

Since Shapiro took office in January 2017, his office has arrested or prosecuted 20 defendants for drug delivery resulting in death, the press release said. Conviction for drug delivery resulting in death is punishable by up to 40 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.