Lehigh Valley

Midday drug bust turns up 60 packets of fentanyl

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Authorities allege they found about 60 packets of fentanyl on an Upper Saucon Township woman accused of buying drugs in a shopping mall parking lot in the middle of the day.

Bethlehem police charged Heidi A. Eberhardt, of Station Avenue in Center Valley, with a handful of drug charges following her arrest Monday afternoon near the Lowe’s off Eighth Avenue. District Judge David Howells arraigned the 35-year-old later that night, setting bail at $50,000.

A Bethlehem police sergeant was conducting surveillance outside the Price Rite off Eighth Avenue about 2 p.m. Monday, when he spotted a Toyota Camry pull into the lot. There were three people in the car, and everyone stayed put for about 10 minutes, according to court records.

Police said the car eventually drove to the nearby Lowe’s parking lot, where a passenger emerged and walked toward another car parked outside the Price Rite. A third car pulled alongside the Toyota, and the drivers made a brief transaction, police said.

Authorities stopped both vehicles, and Eberhardt – the driver of the Toyota – allegedly admitted to purchasing pills from the other driver. She also turned over a drinking straw that appeared to contain a residue from crushed pills. Court records do not specify whether police charged the other driver.

Police said a search turned up about 11 blue baggies containing a tan powder and five more clear baggies containing a white powder. Once at police headquarters, Eberhardt allegedly admitted she was hiding 51 more baggies.

Tests showed the white substance was methamphetamine, while the tan powder tested positive for fentanyl. Police said fentanyl is often packaged like and sold as heroin, noting that street-level dealers and customers often don't know their heroin is actually fentanyl.

Authorities estimate Eberhardt had about 19 grams of meth and that the drugs could easily fetch more than $2,000 on the street.

Police charged her with two felony counts of possession with intent to deliver and a single misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance. She failed to post bail and was sent to Lehigh County Jail to await a preliminary hearing scheduled for Oct. 23.

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