2 Charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child after Drugs, Firearms found in a Monroe County Home

Polk Township, Monroe County - April 1, 2021


In the early morning hours of April 1, 2021, the Monroe County Drug Task Force with the assistance of the Pennsylvania State Police executed a search warrant at a residence located on Interchange Road in Polk Township, Monroe County. Matthew Kozero, 29 of Gilbert, and Laura Santangelo, 32 of Gilbert have been arrested and charged.

Detectives Kim Lippincott and Mario Orlando with the Monroe County District Attorney's Office spearheaded the investigation which began in February 2021 when they received information that Kozero was selling meth and marijuana out of his residence on Interchange Road while his four year old child was present. Investigators conducted undercover purchases out of the home. A search warrant was obtained based on these drug buys.

Because of Kozero's prior record and information received during the investigation, the Drug Task Force called on the Pennsylvania State Police's Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) to make entry into the residence in the form of a drug raid. In addition to SERT, the Drug Task Force requested the assistance of Monroe County Children and Youth Services to ensure the child would be cared for.

When police arrived, Kozero was in his bed with his four year old child while Santangelo was locked in another room. In the room with Kozero and the child were multiple items of drug paraphernalia, three firearms, methamphetamine, heroin, and marijuana, all within reach of the child. Santangelo had marijuana in her bedroom, as well as drug paraphernalia.

Kozero has been charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance (felony), possession of a controlled substance (misdemeanor), possession of drug paraphernalia (misdemeanor), possession of firearms by a person prohibited to possess firearms (a misdemeanor), endangering the welfare of a child (a felony), and recklessly endangering another person (a misdemeanor).

Santangelo has been charged with possession of a controlled substance (a misdemeanor), and endangering the welfare of a child (a felony).

Both were arraigned at the Monroe County Correctional Facility via video conference by MDJ Colleen Mancuso. Kozero's bail was set at $200,000 secured. Santangelo's bail was set at $10,000 secured.

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