Missing Lansdale man back, surrenders to police on drug charges

A 38-year-old Lansdale man who went missing in July and was wanted on felony drug charges is back and surrendered this morning to police in the Montgomery County borough.

Joseph Sarni, of Walnut Street, turned himself in at the Lansdale Police station at 9:30 a.m., said police Sgt. Alex Kromdyk.


Concern over Sarni’s welfare had launched an intensive search by police, family members and the community. Sarni declined to explain his whereabouts during the three-month absence, when asked this morning.

Kromdyk said he did appear healthy, although Sarni suffers from asthma and had left home without his medicine.

Sarni was immediately arraigned on the outstanding drug warrant that had been issued by District Judge Catherine McGill of Oreland.

The presiding judge, Harold Borek of Lansdale, ordered Sarni held in the Montgomery County prison when he failed to post $10,000 in bail.

Sarni, who has worked in auto-detailing, landscaping and pool cleaning businesses, does not drive. He was entered as a missing person into a nationwide law enforcement database on July 16, and police departments in the Philadelphia area also were told to look for him.

On July 20, after an investigation, Lansdale police charged Sarni with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, four counts of possession of a controlled substance, and several lesser drug-related charges.

In June 2012, Lansdale police received information that Sarni was selling cocaine, marijuana and narcotics in Lansdale. In late June, police undercover agents made controlled buys of cocaine and Suboxone from Sarni, Kromdyk said.

As a result, a search warrant was issued for Sarni's apartment on the 500 block of Walnut Street.

Suboxone, a controlled substance which can be addictive, is used for the treatment of people addicted to opiates such as heroin and pain killers.

The search warrant was served on June 29. Seized at his apartment were cocaine and Suboxone, as well as drug  paraphernalia, Kromdyk said. All seized drugs underwent independent laboratory analysis to determine what they were. Sarni took off before police moved in.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 16 before Judge Borek.