Drug Dealer Claimed He Gave Out Free Meth

Pennsylvanian, 56, busted for drug distribution

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Free Meth?

DECEMBER 22--A Pennsylvania man charged with narcotics distribution claimed to police that he did not sell methamphetamine, but instead gave it away for free to those who came to his storage unit and asked for the drug, according to a criminal complaint.

Mark Hiles, 56, was arrested Saturday for allegedly selling drugs from a storage unit several blocks from his home in Altoona. Hiles, free on $50,000 bond, faces a pair of felony drug charges and three misdemeanor counts.

According to police, Hiles and Tyler Bartley, 25, were collared after investigators found them inside Hiles’s storage unit, which "appeared to being used as a residence." During questioning, Bartley reportedly admitted that he worked as a “middle man” setting up drug transactions between Hiles and street buyers.

Bartley told cops that he would “exchange money for drugs” at Hiles’s storage unit, adding that “a large amount of methamphetamine was to be in the storage unit.”

When police searched Hiles, they recovered baggies containing meth and bath salts, marijuana, and “3 glass pipes with residue.”

In a post-arrest interview, Hiles was asked about the foot traffic to and from his storage unit. Hiles explained that “his friends stop by to see him because they know he has methamphetamine,” the complaint states. “The Defendant denied selling methamphetamine for money, but stated he would provide methamphetamine to users for free when they asked.”

Investigators reported that they were familiar with Hiles’s storage unit since they had responded there last month following a “suspected overdose death.” While a “large quantity of suspected heroin had been seized,” cops say, Hiles was not charged in connection with that incident.

Hiles’s rap sheet includes multiple drug convictions, for which he has served several years in state prison. Hiles told cops that he is “currently unemployed and on disability with a monthly income of around $1300.” (2 pages)