[This article is reprinted from the Lancaster Independent Press of May 3-10, 1979. It was the conclusion to a ten part series LIP did on drug informant, Daniel Krushinski. I left the Sunday News to go to LIP when this story began. It hit a chord in Lancaster. A lot of people knew Krushinski and a lot of people knew he was the ultimate con man. The Lancaster Newspapers treated the trials as if they were any other trials. They never questioned the use of Krushinski and never called for an investigation into the police and D.A.'s office for using him. A lot of people pocketed money, and no police were ever made to answer any questions. A LIP staffer named Rolf came up with the above headline and a brilliant layout for the story. It was accompanied by photographs of J. Richard Gray, John Pyfer, Jr. and Samuel Mecum. A LIP staffer reminded me that this story was viewed as so important and crucial that it be correct, that Lamar Hoover, the first editor of LIP and a man whose name is still said with reverence, was brought in to edit it. There are many, many, many stories within this story and one of my favorites was the day we heard a loud clanking coming up to our office above the adult book store on Prince Street. A pagan in full regalia appeared. He said he had come to buy a LIP. I told him that would be twenty-five cents. He handed me a quarter. I handed him the LIP. He said, "Thank you" and left.]
THE KRUSHINSKI STORY
It's been almost six months now since this reporter first heard the name Krushinski mentioned.
A casual friend stopped by this reporter's home several days after the October 5, 1978 highly publicized county drug bust. His picture had been on page two on that morning's Intell, handcuffed and being led to a police car, arrested for an alleged cocaine sale. The subject obviously came up.
He said he hadn't been in Lancaster on the night of the alleged sale - and he was going to World's End State Park that night to get the register to prove it. He wasn't mad; he seemed to be sure the legal system would treat him with justice. With the help of a good lawyer that system worked for Robert Sweinhart, and his case brought the Krushinski scandal into public view.
But this reporter heard more on that first day. That Krushinski had a long criminal record including warrants from the F.B.I. and a pending criminal assault charge. That he not only did cocaine but also was dealing heavily in that and other drugs. And that his standard of living had improved vastly over the past few months.
And why wasn't his name mentioned somewhere in all the publicity about the drug busts?
As they days went by the name Krushinski would keep popping up. The information varied little.
LIP researched his criminal record in the court house and found it to be extensive, including the pending assault charge.
We contacted Sweinhart's lawyer; all J. Richard Gray would tell LIP was that Krushinski was involved in over half of the 40 odd drug busts. That was enough. LIP ran its first article in the November 16-22, 1978 issue.
At the same time, a body of criminal lawyers in Lancaster were hearing the same "Krushinski stories."
Gray went to the county prison the day of the arrests. There he learned that a defendant, Doug McCulloch, had told of being asked by Krushinski in the Village Night Club to pose as someone named "Wheels" in a drug transaction. Gray began to investigate further.
He was the defense counsel for 10 of the defendants at their preliminary hearings. "While all their stories were different, most all of them smacked of set-ups," said Gray. It was Gray who brought forward the matter of Krushinski's full record in one of those hearings.
"The defense lawyers talked and found cases that sounded the same," Gray said. "We started to wonder."
The other defense lawyers who were wondering were Samuel Mecum and John Pyfer, Jr., each counsel to several of those arrested. "If somebody found something relevant to a case they were not handling they would steer the information to the defense attorney who was," said Gray.
Pyfer was skeptical at first. "I'd heard it all before," said Pyfer, "and I discounted the stories. But then the clients I represented all had the same type of story and they had not had contact with one another. They began to ring true."
Pyfer credits Gray with getting together most of the information. Still skeptical, however, Pyfer hired a private detective to check out the accusations against Krushinski. The Sweinhart trial and what his private detective turned up convinced him.
Mecum was experiencing the same. "The defendants were saying that a guy asked them to stand there. It looked like they were doing the deal, but he [Krushinski] actually was. The versions of how the transactions happened were all similar even though some of the people in the prison were not able to talk with each other."
There were little publicized Krushinski cases that came to trial in the January session of court, but it was the February term and the Sweinhart trial that broke the cases wide open for the defense attorneys.
PART TWO IS HERE.