Pennsylvania State Police troopers got more than $65 million worth of illegal drugs off streets across the commonwealth in 2022, according to a report released Wednesday. That includes 547 pounds of cocaine and 348 pounds of fentanyl, with a combined street value of $20.9 million.
A business owner has been arrested for selling prescription pain pills out of his drive-thru window in Monroeville, officials said. Police and federal agents said they observed Brian Schlagel of Murrysville buy and sell pills out of his business and home over the course of several months, according to Tribune-Review
A Butler man has pleaded guilty in federal court in Pittsburgh to possessing drugs, including fentanyl, last year in Duquesne.
Gerry Lee Kendall, 41, pleaded guilty before Senior District Court Judge Arthur J. Schwab on a charge of possessing 10 grams or more of a drug mixture containing fluorofentanyl and fentanyl.
Authorities with the Cambria County Sheriff’s Office say an Altoona man, who was wanted out of Blair County, was arrested in Johnstown early Wednesday morning.
A Hempfield woman told police she bought 40 bricks of heroin to earn money and was going to sell the drugs to pay for her son’s defense attorney, according to court papers. Misty D. Giron, 46, was arrested last week on drug charges.
Overseen by the state Attorney General’s Office, an investigation into William Ely, 41, of Wilkinsburg and two mid-level dealers, Jaylon Brock, 32, of Pittsburgh and Tony Burnsworth, 44, of Somerset County began in May 2021.
During the investigation, detectives discovered that Ely was supplying approximately 150 bricks of heroin/fentanyl, or up to 7,500 doses, a week to Mr. Brock and Mr. Burnsworth. The two recipients would then sell the drugs on the streets — Mr. Brock in Pittsburgh and Mr. Burnsworth in Somerset County, the attorney general’s office said.
BEAVER FALLS, Pa. —
Beaver Falls police sad a drug bust that followed a week-long narcotics trafficking investigation ended with two arrests.
Robert Carpenter, 37, and another person, were both taken into custody on Monday, according to police.
Police said they seized crack cocaine, oxycodone pills, three firearms, marijuana and hundreds of dollars in cash, among other items.
Carpenter is facing several charges and is being held in the Beaver County Prison.
Online court dockets have not listed complete details for the second person arrested.
WILTON MANORS, Fla. – Detectives announced late Friday night that they had arrested a suspect in connection to seven overdoses of fentanyl-laced cocaine at a home in Broward County.
The victims included West Point cadets, according to the U.S. Military Academy. Three still remained hospitalized on Friday — including two whose condition were critical.
The group of college students on spring break from New York needed help shortly before 5 p.m. on Thursday, at a short-term rental, at 811 NW 29 Court in Wilton Manors.
Six were hospitalized first and a woman later in the day, according to the Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Department.
Five people were discovered dead inside a Colorado apartment — where a 4-month-old baby was also found alive — after what police are investigating as a possible drug-fueled party that turned fatal.
The bodies of three women and two men were discovered inside a unit at the North Range Crossings Apartments on East 104th Avenue, Commerce City Police Chief Clint Nichols said, the Denver Post reported.
Another adult and an infant were found alive, he added.
A substance that “could be described as illicit narcotics” was found in the home, said Nichols, adding that further testing was planned.
“If it is going to be illicit drugs, they were very, very bad,” he said, according to the news outlet. “If it was drugs, no one was able to get to a phone and call 911 for a medical emergency.”
By: Erika Stanish/KDKA-TV
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — An 18-year-old is accused of leading police on a car chase through the Squirrel Hill Tunnel and crashing into another car inside.
Police said a trooper saw a black Nissan Altima driving erratically on Interstate-376, but when the trooper tried to stop the driver, he took off through the tunnel before crashing into another car.
A witness inside the tunnel caught the crash on his dashcam and said it all happened within seconds.
“I look to my left rearview mirror and I saw a car swerve from the right to the left lane at a ridiculous speed through the tunnels. I would estimate 65 to 70 miles per hour,” Thomas Maryanski said. “He passed me doing that speed and realized the vehicles in front of me, which were about 30 yards ahead of me, started braking. Everybody started slowing down and he slammed on his brakes, but it was too late. He lost control of his car, slammed into the car in the right lane. He flipped back and smashed against the wall and came to a stop.”
Cash Jones is in jail following the incident.
SEWICKLEY TOWNSHIP, Pa. —
State police said a 50-year-old man attacked a woman and two children inside a home Saturday evening after he woke up and discovered his methamphetamine had been destroyed.
Jason Bingaman, 50, is charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault and one count of making terroristic threats.According to police, Bingaman was asleep in the bathtub in his home along Evans Street in Sewickley Township.
When he woke up, police said he discovered a woman in the home had destroyed his stash of methamphetamine and became irate. Bingaman is accused of attacking the woman with a pair of scissors. She was able to escape the attack, police said.
Police said Bingaman then turned his attention to a 17-year-old girl in the home, striking her in the head and upper body area with a shovel.
Police said the victims were able to get outside and a man nearby helped stop the assault. According to the criminal complaint, Bingaman then went back into the home and grabbed a crossbow, firing it in the direction of the woman.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Ohio — Members of the Jefferson County Drug Task Force seized 56 grams of methamphetamine aftera traffic stop by Wintersville police over the weekend.
Two people – 51-year-old Charles Thompson, of Steubenville, and 46-year-old Christopher Price, of Wintersville – were arrested.
The Steubenville K-9 unit and the Ohio State Highway Patrol assisted at the stop
More than a dozen people were indicted in what federal investigators called a multi-state cocaine trafficking operation that included places in Pittsburgh.
In 2014, attorney Daniel Muessig created an advertisement for his law practice and posted it on YouTube.
In the funny, over-the-top video that had more than 150,000 views, he urged people to hire him to represent them in court because, he said, “I think like a criminal.”
Now, seven years later, Muessig finds himself in the role of an actual criminal.
The 39-year-old pleaded guilty Tuesday to two felony counts in federal court in Pittsburgh — conspiracy to distribute marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
The government said the amount of illegal drugs attributable to Muessig was between about 220 and 880 pounds. He faces prison time when he is sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab in March.
Federal prosecutors said Muessig, along with another man, Wayne Barker, operated a drug stash house at a home on Covode Street in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill.
Investigators with the Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets task force, who had a wire tap and then set up surveillance at the house, saw people involved in the conspiracy carrying large black trash bags with green stickers identifying the strain of marijuana to vehicles. Then, around 9:30 a.m. on May 24, 2019, Muessig was seen carrying a black backpack into the house.
About 40 minutes later, two more men arrived at the house and went inside.
Later, investigators said that Muessig and another co-defendant, Hector Rodriguez, carried two large boxes from the house and put them in a Dodge Ram parked in the next-door neighbor’s driveway.
After the Dodge pulled out, police pulled it over. Inside the boxes Muessig and Rodriguez had carried out, they found $400,000, the government said.
A subsequent search of the residence resulted in the discovery of boxes full of marijuana, packaging material, a vacuum sealer and money counter.
The marijuana weighed 404 pounds. There was an additional $5,012 seized from the residence, as well.
Muessig is facing a five-year mandatory prison sentence. However, there is a provision in federal court called the “safety valve” that would allow for a reduced sentence if he can meet several requirements, including proving that he was not a leader of the organization and that he did not use weapons or violence in his crimes.
If Muessig qualifies for the reduction, the advised prison term would be 30 to 37 months.
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WJAC) — A Johnstown woman is behind bars after a toddler had a stamp bag of heroin in her mouth, police say.
According to the Adams Township Police, Janet Ruffing is facing drug charges along with endangering the welfare of children.
Police said they received a tip Sept. 17 that a 1-year-old child had been exposed to heroin while staying with Ruffing at her home on Ragers Hill Road.
The girl was allegedly with Ruffing while Ruffing was high on drugs and lost consciousness.
According to a criminal complaint, police interviewed Ruffing who admitted to the incident.
BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombian security forces have captured the country’s most wanted drug trafficker, a rural warlord who stayed on the run for more than a decade by corrupting state officials and aligning himself with combatants on the left and right.
President Iván Duque likened the arrest Saturday of Dairo Antonio Úsuga to the capture three decades ago of Pablo Escobar.
Colombia’s military presented Úsuga to the media in handcuffs and wearing rubber boots preferred by rural farmers.
Úsuga, better known by his alias Otoniel, is the alleged head of the much-feared Gulf Clan, whose army of assassins has terrorized much of northern Colombia to gain control of major cocaine smuggling routes through thick jungles north to Central America and onto the U.S.
He’s long been a fixture on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s most-wanted fugitives list, for whose capture it had been offering a $5 million reward. He was first indicted in 2009, in Manhattan federal court, on narcotics charges and for allegedly providing assistance to a far-right paramilitary group designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. Later indictments in Brooklyn and Miami federal courts accused him of importing into the U.S. at least 73 metric tons of cocaine between 2003 and 2014 through countries including Venezuela, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Honduras.
A woman was arrested after police said a 5-month-old child was exposed to narcotics and emergency personnel had to use Narcan on the child.
When officers arrived, firefighters and paramedics were rendering aid to the child, who was then transported to UPMC Children’s Hospital in stable condition after first responders had administered Narcan.
According to the criminal complaint, officials at the hospital said the child presented symptoms of opioid overdose.
Special Victims Unit detectives interviewed Rexrode, who is the infant’s guardian. She told police her and her boyfriend went to a local park on Bausman Street where she noticed the child being very lethargic and her lips turning blue. They took her home where the child’s skin started to turn blue and she wasn’t waking up, so they went to the first station.
During the interview, Rexrode admitted to using heroin and cocaine recently. A search of her home turned up empty stamp bags, as well as suspected heroin and drug paraphernalia in the living room where she had been sleeping on the couch.
Acting on tips, the Westmoreland County Drug Task Forced served a warrant at a Hempfield home this week and seized 61 bricks of heroin, Xanax pills, three handguns, a rifle, two Tasers and about $11,000, according to court documents.
After the search, county detectives charged the homeowner, Chad J. Gilbert, 51, with multiple counts of manufacture, delivery and possession of a controlled substance, possession of prohibited offensive weapons and drug paraphernalia.
He was ordered held in the county prison after failing to post $250,000 bond.
PITTSBURGH — A violent Pittsburgh neighborhood gang was busted during an FBI and police raid in Hazelwood early Thursday morning.
The gang, known as the “Hazelwood Mob,” was dismantled after a four-month-long investigation into violence and drug trafficking in the neighborhood. The indictment charged 25 people with drug trafficking and firearm violations, the Department of Justice announced. Investigators said they used wire taps and tips from the community to identify who was involved and what their role was in the organization.
Channel 11 was there as Pittsburgh police raided two houses along Second Avenue in Hazelwood around 6 a.m.
CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — A Cambria County man is behind bars again after police allegedly found him passed out and hanging outside his car door with drugs in his vehicle.
According to Upper Yoder Township police, 30-year-old Jesse Lamer had the following in his vehicle:
- 1 plastic container with white crystal substance approx. 34.6 grams
- 15 stamp bags with white crystal substance approx. 5.15 grams
- 1 glass vial with white crystal substance approx. 8.01 grams
- 1 glass vial with white crystal substance approx. 13.24 grams
- 3 glass smoking devices in the center console
- 1 glass smoking device in the glove box
- 1 kit containing a scale, baggies, straws and two glass smoking devices on the passenger seat and throughout the vehicle
Police managed to seize this evidence after they were dispatched to the 200 block of Derby Street Aug. 29 for a report of a man hanging out the passenger side of his car, according to the affidavit.
By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto signed an executive order Tuesday allowing the possession and use of fentanyl test strips.
The City of Pittsburgh is adopting a policy to not arrest people who have or distribute fentanyl test strips for harm reduction purposes.
The Mayor’s Office says fentanyl test strips have been proven to prevent overdoses by allowing users to identify the presence of fentanyl in drugs.
Pointing to a recent study from the City of Pittsburgh Office of Community Health and Safety, the Mayor’s Office says there’s been an increased presence of fentanyl in drugs like heroin, cocaine and meth in the greater Pittsburgh area.
“While fentanyl has been present in the heroin supply for several years in this region, there are increasing reports of other, non-opioid drugs that have been cut with or contaminated by fentanyl,” the report says.
Peduto signed the order on Overdose Awareness Day.
CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Three Lower Yoder Township residents have been arrested after a search warrant led to the discovery of suspected crack cocaine and fentanyl.
Jason Michael Piurkowsky, 24, Tatyana Marie Lynn Simms, 22 and Ryan Anthony Ressler, 20 are all facing multiple drug-related offenses.
A warrant was executed on the 100 block of Peach Street. During the search, police found 12 grams of suspected crack cocaine, 6.5 grams of suspected fentanyl and 407 grams of suspected marijuana.
Police also found three firearms, including a ghost gun with no markings, according to District Attorney Greg Neugebauer.
Cambria County Detectives, the Attorney General’s Office, and Cambria County SERT executed the search warrant.
CAMBRIA COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — An Indiana County couple face charges after they showed up intoxicated at the Carrolltown Dollar General with heroin and several other drugs on them, according to state police at Ebensburg.
On Aug. 10, employees at Dollar General called the cops on 33-year-old Kathryn Hoover and 41-year-old Jessey Borruto, saying that Borruto wasn’t wearing shoes and refused to leave, and Hoover was in the bathroom for over an hour.
Once police arrived and escorted them out, Hoover kept giving police false names before finally identifying herself. It turns out, Hoover was wanted by the Cambria County Sheriff’s Office, police note.Police report they asked Hoover if she had anything on her, and she pulled out an orange pill bottle with several pills and stamp bags. She also had additional stamp bags with “Taylor Gang” printed on them, and she admitted to police that they were heroin.
PITTSBURGH — Four people, including a juvenile, were arrested and charged with gun and drug violations after a SWAT incident at a hotel in Pittsburgh’s North Side.
Samuel Mitchell, 27, Dorian Ingram, 26, Kevin Whitely, 22, and one juvenile were charged with in the incident at 1 a.m. Aug. 13 at the Double Tree Hotel at 1 Bigelow Square.
Officers with the Pittsburgh Police Department’s Narcotics and Vice, Violent Crime Unit and Pittsburgh SWAT served a search warrant on a room on the 10th floor of the hotel, following ongoing investigation into the recent rash of violence on the North Side.Police said during an initial sweep of the room, large quantities of narcotics and one firearm were observed in plain view.
Following a second search, six firearms, 12 bricks of heroin and about $900 in cash was found.
Mitchell, Ingram and Whitely are currently held in the Allegheny County Jail, while the juvenile was taken to the Shuman Center.
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – A drug organization accused of funneling fentanyl, methamphetamine and other drugs into Johnstown from both coasts has been dismantled, resulting in charges against 31 people, law enforcement officials said.
A federal indictment unsealed Thursday included counts against 22 Johnstown residents, one person from Indiana County, one from the Pittsburgh area and seven from “supply” hubs in the Philadelphia area and Long Beach, California.
That list includes Mikal Davis, 44, of Philadelphia, who already had been charged in federal court last month as a distributor and kingpin of the organized drug trafficking operation.
“Drugs ruin families, communities and lives,” said David Abbott, the assistant special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations’ Pittsburgh office. “These defendants preyed on drug addicts in Pennsylvania for their own greed without any remorse for the lives they destroyed.”
Police on Wednesday charged James D. Higgins, 41, of Apollo and Autumn Rogers, 21, of Leechburg with possession with intent to deliver controlled substances, conspiracy to attempt to commit delivery of controlled substances and other charges.
Police stopped Higgins and Rogers on Tuesday along Route 56 in Kiski Township for a traffic violation.
When police identified Higgins, they arrested him because he was wanted in Allegheny County on charges of possession with intent to deliver drug.
By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh Police say their search of a local home turned up a marijuana grow operation.
Police say they seized 16 marijuana plants, 16 guns, and some gun accessories.
At least a dozen times this year, medical rescue workers in the county responded to four or more deadly overdoses in a single day, the vast majority involving fentanyl.
In the small working-class city of Clairton, at least six people have died this year in overdoses involving the drug — two on the same street, records show.
The rise in deaths has prompted public officials to call for efforts from law enforcement and other government agencies to battle the crisis, including the legalization in Pennsylvania of the distribution of fentanyl strips — a tool that can alert people to the presence of the drug.
By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The FBI in Pittsburgh helped in taking down a massive drug trafficking operation that spanned Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and the Dominican Republic.
In that bust, 34 people were indicted, including a suspect from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
According to investigators, they seized more than eight kilos of cocaine, a kilo of heroin, and 12 ounces of crack.
Authorities seized nine guns and more than $40,000 worth of meth from a McKeesport man’s home, according to Attorney General Josh Shapiro, all of which he says stems from a new partnership between state and local authorities in the Mon Valley.
Franklin Gribschaw, 42, faces multiple charges of drug possession and drug delivery.