ATHENS — Police say they arrested a man on possession and trafficking charges early Thursday morning after finding $8,000 worth of drugs, cash and paraphernalia during a bust that was the result of a monthslong investigation.

Richard Romano, 54, who lives on Lancaster Road in Athens, was selling cocaine and pills to people in the Athens area, according to a statement from Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster. Lancaster said this was the fourth drug search involving Romano since 1999, the last being 10 years ago, in 2008.

On Thursday, a team of three sheriff’s detectives, seven deputies and a police dog seized about 50 grams of cocaine, 62 30-milligram oxycodone pills, Suboxone pills, $3,736 in cash, digital scales and drug-related paraphernalia and documents from Romano’s home.

He was arrested on two class B charges of trafficking schedule W drugs and two class C charges of possession of a schedule W drug. Lancaster said additional charges may be forthcoming against Romano once his case is reviewed by the Somerset District Attorney’s Office.

In 1999, Romano was charged with trafficking scheduled drugs at a misdemeanor level and was sentenced to 364 days in jail with all the time suspended and one year of probation.

In 2002, he was charged with furnishing marijuana and possession of valium. He pleaded guilty to both charges and served all but 14 days of a 364-day jail sentence and one year of probation.

In 2008, Romano initially was charged with possession of a schedule W drug, but the case was dismissed, as he was able to produce a valid prescription for the drugs.

Romano’s bail was set at $5,000 unsecured. He is scheduled to appear on June 13 at the Somerset Unified Court.

Emily Higginbotham — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @EmilyHigg

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