Drug suspect in custody after standoff

Feb. 28—LUZERNE — After an hours-long standoff with law enforcement in a quiet neighborhood of Luzerne Borough, a man suspected of peddling illegal drugs surrendered peacefully on Tuesday.

Luzerne County District Attorney Samuel Sanguedolce and state police Trooper Bill Evans identified the man as Jason Scott Evans, 45.

Evans walked out of his residence in the 700 block of Miller Street after state police Special Emergency Response Team troopers ignited a flash grenade at about 3:15 p.m.

Sanguedolce said Evans was armed when he barricaded himself in a bathroom and threatened to harm himself. Evans did not threaten law enforcement officers who surrounded the home, Sanguedolce said.

Evans was expected to be charged with recklessly endangering another person and firearm offenses for the standoff in addition to felony drug delivery charges, Sanguedolce said.

The standoff began at about 12 p.m. when drug agents with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office and the district attorney's Drug Task Force attempted to serve a search warrant at Evans' home.

"The agents and the district attorney task force officers made entry, the suspect barricaded himself in a bathroom," Sanguedolce said. "There was a female present we were able to extract. When he barricaded himself, he threatened to take his own life at which point we called in the Pennsylvania State Police SERT team."

The 700 block of Miller Street between Kelly Street and Bishop Lane was closed as immediate neighbors were evacuated. Those who lived in the block were not permitted to return home.

Several Amazon and FedEx trucks were seen making deliveries to homes nearest Bishop Lane with the delivery men running to drop packages on porches and running while returning to their trucks.

Sanguedolce said a county detective trained in negotiations spoke with Evans on the telephone with negotiations turned over to state police when the SERT team arrived.

Shortly after District Judge David Barilla signed a search warrant for Evans' home, a SERT armored vehicle parked in front and through a public address system, Evans was instructed to walk out of the house with his hands up. After several commands to exit the house, a flash grenade was ignited and several minutes later, Evans walked out without incident.

"After several hours of attempted negotiations, the use of the flash bang caused him to exit the structure where he was taken into custody," Sanguedolce said.

Trooper Evans said the state police SERT troopers responded to assist the attorney general's office.

Sanguedolce said Evans' home was one of several searched that began at 3 a.m. Tuesday in a drug trafficking investigation that stretched to Scranton in Lackawanna County.