Loyalhanna Township couple charged with operating meth lab

State police arrested a Loyalhanna Township couple early Wednesday after shutting down what they called a methamphetamine lab at the couple’s home in rural Westmoreland County. Brian Miller, 51, and Jennifer Lynn Williams, 53, are charged with operating a methamphetamine lab, possession of a controlled substance, and possession with intent to deliver.

preliminary hearing on the new charges is April 19.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@triblive.com or via Twitter .

Source: Loyalhanna Township couple charged with operating meth lab

Schumer: Senate will act on marijuana legalization with or without Biden – POLITICO

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer really likes to talk about weed.

Schumer has been making waves on cannabis policy since he first introduced a bill to legalize marijuana in April 2018. It was part of his pitch for voting Democrat in the 2020 election, and now — with the majority in hand — he is putting together new federal marijuana reform legislation with Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

This week, Schumer’s home state of New York legalized marijuana use for adults, after years of failed efforts. More than 40 percent of Americans now live in states that have embraced full legalization.

President Joe Biden has been a conspicuous outlier among Democrats when it comes to supporting marijuana legalization. But Schumer said Biden’s reticence won’t deter the Senate from taking aggressive action to loosen federal restrictions.

Source: Schumer: Senate will act on marijuana legalization with or without Biden – POLITICO

New York state legislature passes bill to legalize recreational marijuana

 POINTS
  • New York’s state Senate and Assembly both passed a bill Tuesday to legalize recreational marijuana.
  • “I look forward to signing this legislation into law,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
  • If the bill is signed, legalization of the plant would be effective immediately but legal recreational sales would not be expected to begin for one or two years.

Source: New York state legislature passes bill to legalize recreational marijuana

DA: Johnstown woman among seven arrested in recent warrant sweep | WJAC

According to Cambria County District Attorney Greg Neugebauer, a Johnstown woman was among seven people arrested in a recent warrant sweep.

Authorities say 39-year-old Vanessa Stephens was arrested Thursday in Solomon Homes on felony drug charges.

Investigators say a search of her residence led to the seizure of 4.5 grams of crack cocaine, as well as a small amount of heroin.

Stephens faces charges of drug possession with the intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of a communication device, according to court documents.

Source: DA: Johnstown woman among seven arrested in recent warrant sweep | WJAC

Wilkinsburg man pleads to manslaughter after friend is killed in drug deal gone bad | TribLIVE.com

A Wilkinsburg man with ties to two high-profile cases pleaded guilty Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter in an unrelated shooting.

Demetres Beck, 26, admitted to Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Edward J. Borkowski that he and a friend, Kierre Simmons, participated in a robbery on Dec. 29, 2014.

According to Deputy District Attorney Ilan Zur, Beck and Simmons went to a home in North Braddock to buy marijuana that day, but then pulled guns and tried to rob the two men selling it.

Police said Beck pulled the trigger first, and the sellers had guns and returned fire.

Simmons, 25, of Shadyside, was killed.

Beck was ordered to serve 2-1/2 to five years in prison to be followed by three years probation.

Defense attorney Casey White said his client has already serve 55 months in custody.

During the hearing, Beck apologized to the court for his actions.

Source: Wilkinsburg man pleads to manslaughter after friend is killed in drug deal gone bad | TribLIVE.com

Monessen man faces drug, gun charges after traffic stop | TribLIVE.com

A Monessen man was arrested Saturday in Rostraver after state police said they found him in possession of a gun and drugs, according to court papers.

Rashawn Ford, 25, is charged with drug possession, weapons violations and other offenses.

State police said they pulled over a car with an expired registration that was headed north on the Vance DeiCas Memorial Highway in Rostraver at 5 p.m. While talking to the driver, identified by police as Ford, troopers noticed numerous empty prescription pill bottles lying on the floor of the car, according to court papers.

Investigators in court papers referenced recent violence and drug activity in the Monessen and Donora area as a factor in the decision to ask him to step out of the vehicle. Troopers said they found 50 bricks of suspected heroin and a loaded pistol in Ford’s pants. Three more bricks and three bundles of drugs were seized from his jacket pocket, according to court papers.

Source: Monessen man faces drug, gun charges after traffic stop | TribLIVE.com

Half-ton of marijuana valued at over $8 million found by dog on routine traffic stop – ABC News

The incident occurred at approximately 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday, March 16, when an Indiana State Police trooper stopped a van for a moving violation near the town of Lowell, Indiana, about 50 miles southeast of Chicago, according to a statement released by the Indiana State Police.

The officer approached the vehicle with police to speak with the driver — later named as 31-year-old Christopher S. Colburn from McKinleyville, California — which subsequently led to an investigation of the exterior of the vehicle, including a canine sniff, that caused the officer to ask about what was inside the van.“

During that search, troopers discovered 38 large boxes and 6 black garbage bags.,” said the Indiana State Police. “The boxes were wrapped in black plastic wrap. Inside the boxes contained a total of 1,264 individually sealed bags, each weighing approximately 1.5 lbs., and contained a green plant material. A field test of the content revealed it to be marijuana.”

Source: Half-ton of marijuana valued at over $8 million found by dog on routine traffic stop – ABC News

Derry man charged with having heroin, fentanyl at Westmoreland County Prison | TribLIVE.com

Jason Michael Thomas, 31, of Derry, is charged with drug possession and contraband.

Detectives said Thomas was being processed at 1:20 a.m. Sept 15 at the Hempfield jail prior to arraignment on charges stemming from a domestic assault in a vehicle filed by North Huntingdon police. He was carrying his shoes and walking to a cell when authorities said he dropped a bundle of stamp bags.

Source: Derry man charged with having heroin, fentanyl at Westmoreland County Prison | TribLIVE.com

A Deadly Synthetic Street Drug Called ‘Benzo Dope’ Is on the Rise

FRANCISCO GARCIA

The emerging drug contains two highly-potent highs, fentanyl and etizolam, and has been linked to a string of drug deaths in Canada.

Fatal overdoses are more likely to occur after using benzo dope because the life-saving opioid overdose reversal drug, naloxone, is not effective against benzos.

Benzo dope, also known as ‘purple heroin’, is most commonly dark purple, blue and orange, but it has been found to be other colours.

Drug forensic experts in British Columbia found that in October last year one in six (16 percent) of fentanyl deals were cut with benzodiazepines – a type of drug not usually found cut into opioids – compared to five per cent last January and zero before 2019.

The most common benzo identified in benzo dope was etizolam, a super potent benzo that is fuelling record drug death rates in Scotland.

Authorities in Canada were first alerted to benzo dope when health workers noticed a cluster of 30 “atypical” overdoses over two weeks in Vancouver in April 2019, where drug users were not responding to naloxone. A warning about the new drug combo was issued by Vancouver Coastal Health.

The combination of benzos and fentanyl causes prolonged loss of consciousness, profound respiratory depression and amnesia. In January, half of the 165 suspected illicit drug toxicity deaths in British Columbia – most of which involved fentanyl – also involved benzos, compared to only 15 percent in July last year. Last year was the deadliest year on record for overdoses in British Columbia, the epicentre of Canada’s drug death crisis.

Source: A Deadly Synthetic Street Drug Called ‘Benzo Dope’ Is on the Rise

Police: Traffic Stop Leads To Largest Single-Day Heroin Bust In Bridgeville Police History – CBS Pittsburgh

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

BRIDGEVILLE (KDKA) — A 26-year-old man is facing numerous drug charges in connection with the largest single-day heroin bust in Bridgeville Police history following a recent traffic stop.

READ MORE:COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: 4,000 To Be Vaccinated At Heinz Field Clinic

Police say that 26-year-old Ronell Cathie of Pittsburgh was arrested after a traffic stop on Sunday, February 21.

READ MORE:COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: State Health Dept. Reports 2,564 New Coronavirus Cases, 74 Additional Deaths

(Courtesy: Bridgeville Police Department)

According to police, Cathie was stopped and police seized approximately 400 stamp bags of heroin, approximately $1,000 in cash, and three cell phones.

(Courtesy: Bridgeville Police Department)

Cathie was transported to the Allegheny Co. Jail and was released on bond the next day.

Source: Police: Traffic Stop Leads To Largest Single-Day Heroin Bust In Bridgeville Police History – CBS Pittsburgh

Westmoreland jail inmate charged after detectives say she swallowed drugs in cell | TribLIVE.com

A Westmoreland County Prison inmate is accused by county detectives of swallowing four stamp bags of suspected heroin she had in her cell after being committed there earlier this month, according to court papers.

Elizabeth June Cramer, 35, of Greensburg, is charged with contraband and tampering with evidence.

A fifth stamp bag recovered in Cramer’s cell by corrections officers was marked “Chucky,” which has been linked to drug overdoses and deaths around the region, according to court papers.

Source: Westmoreland jail inmate charged after detectives say she swallowed drugs in cell | TribLIVE.com

Columbia professor: I do heroin regularly for ‘work-life balance’

Carl Hart is a Columbia University professor of psychology and neuroscience. He chairs the psych department and has a fondness for heroin – not only as a subject of scholarly pursuit but also as a substance for personal use.

At 54, the married father of three has snorted small amounts of heroin for as many as 10 days in a row and enjoyed it mightily – even if, as he recalls in his new book “Drug Use for Grown-ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear” (Penguin Press), he’s experienced mild withdrawal symptoms “12 to 16 hours after the last dose.”

But, as Hart sees it, the discomfort is a worthwhile trade-off.

Source: Columbia professor: I do heroin regularly for ‘work-life balance’

Greensburg woman charged with endangering children, drug possession after traffic stop | TribLIVE.com

A Greensburg woman pulled over early Tuesday for driving erratically during a snow storm without functioning headlights was later arrested by city police and charged with illegal possession of crack cocaine and heroin.

Sarah K. Walters, 28, also was charged with child endangerment because, police say, she had two young children, ages 3 and 5, in her van who were not secured in child safety seats and left a third child, 8, at her apartment unsupervised during the trip.

Patrolman Henry Fontana Jr. said the incident began at 12:41 a.m. on the 700 block of Highland Avenue when he noticed Walters’s van with improperly working headlights having trouble navigating the snow-covered road. He pulled her over in the Nature’s Way parking lot, according to police reports.

Fontana said, when he questioned Walters, he saw two children not properly secured in child safety seats and discovered Walters in possession of suspected crack cocaine, heroin and devices to ingest the drugs.

“Through investigation, it was determined that Walters left a third child, an 8-years-old girl, at home and unattended as she drove to a Greensburg residence to purchase crack cocaine and heroin,” Fontana wrote in court documents.

Source: Greensburg woman charged with endangering children, drug possession after traffic stop | TribLIVE.com

Friedens man arrested on warrant; Somerset DA says meth, marijuana found | Coronavirus | tribdem.com

A Somerset County man wanted on a warrant was arrested over the weekend and now has drug charges pending following a drug bust in Friedens, Somerset County District Attorney Jeff Thomas said.

Thomas said investigators went to 33-year-old Albert Marody’s home after people in the area started reporting “strange activity” at all hours of the night, including brief after-midnight visitors.

Police went to the Friedens home to serve Marody with a warrant, and discovered two ounces of methamphetamine and two pounds of marijuana, as well as drug paraphernalia, Thomas said.

Marody was taken into custody and now has additional charges pending related to the drugs found at his residence.

Source: Friedens man arrested on warrant; Somerset DA says meth, marijuana found | Coronavirus | tribdem.com

DA: Drugs seized, fugitive arrested following Somerset Co. bust

According to Somerset County District Attorney Jeff Thomas, a fugitive was taken into custody Friday afternoon following a drug bust in Friedens. Thomas says a large amount of methamphetamine and marijuana were seized from the residence. The identity of the fugitive has not yet been released. Both the Somerset County Drug Task Force and Somerset County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the bust.

Source: DA: Drugs seized, fugitive arrested following Somerset Co. bust

Man called one of ‘Chicago’s Most Wanted’ arrested in Pittsburgh suburb

PITTSBURGH — In 2019, media reports out of Chicago said the FBI was looking for an alleged drug trafficker as one of their “Most Wanted”. Randall Langston, 25, was arrested at an apartment complex in Pittsburgh’s Highland Park neighborhood.

According to court documents, agents with a state narcotics task force, involving members of several local police departments, used a criminal informant to buy 50 bricks of heroin from a man who went by the name “Chicago.” The operation was set up to take place at the Highland House Towers apartment complex.

On Friday afternoon, police set up a perimeter around the complex as the informant texted “Chicago” that he was parked at the rear of the building. “Chicago” messaged back that he was on his way down. A short time later, the informant confirmed to police that “Chicago” was walking toward their meeting spot.

Agents then converged on the man as he took off running. After about 30 yards, the man was tackled to the ground by officers wearing clothing clearly marked with POLICE lettering. The man was later identified as Langston.

Police said they found a large clear plastic bag in Langston’s waistband containing 50 bricks of heroin.

They searched his apartment, finding a gun, digital scales, heroin stamp bags, a black trash bag containing a large quantity of heroin and other drug paraphernalia. Investigators later learned Langston had a fugitive warrant from the FBI office in Chicago.

Langston was charged with receiving stolen property, possession with intent to deliver and other charges.

It’s not clear if Langston will be extradited back to Chicago to face charges there.

Source: Man called one of ‘Chicago’s Most Wanted’ arrested in Pittsburgh suburb

‘Cocaine bananas’ shipped to grocery stores in botched operation

A botched drug-trafficking operation resulted in banana shipments stashed with cocaine being accidentally sent to Canadian grocery stores, authorities said.

Police in Kelowna said Tuesday that 21 kilograms (46 pounds) of cocaine was shipped from Colombia as part of the failed drug deal, Global News reported.

“Our investigation leads us to believe these illicit drugs were not meant to end up in the Central Okanagan, and arrived here in the Okanagan Valley as a result of a missed pickup at some point along the way,” said Jeff Carroll, an officer with the Kelowna Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Source: ‘Cocaine bananas’ shipped to grocery stores in botched operation

Man killed in home invasion, one charged

Police said it was reported that two men invaded the home in the 2900 block of Grover Street in McKeesport. A witness told police there was a knock at the rear door of the home and when they answered, a firearm was pointed in their face.

A witness identified Hale, and it was reported that Hale hit Gutierrez-Faust in the head and face multiple times and then strangled him, according to the criminal complaint.

The second suspect, still unidentified, then reached into Gutierrez-Faust’s pocket after and took money and crack cocaine, according to the document.

Police said it was reported that two men invaded the home in the 2900 block of Grover Street in McKeesport. A witness told police there was a knock at the rear door of the home and when they answered, a firearm was pointed in their face.

A witness identified Hale, and it was reported that Hale hit Gutierrez-Faust in the head and face multiple times and then strangled him, according to the criminal complaint.

The second suspect, still unidentified, then reached into Gutierrez-Faust’s pocket after and took money and crack cocaine, according to the document.

Source: Man killed in home invasion, one charged

Tse Chi Lop, one of the world’s biggest drug dealers, arrested in Amsterdam – CNN

(CNN)A Chinese-born alleged drug kingpin accused of presiding over a multi-billion dollar narcotics operation has been arrested by Dutch authorities.

Canadian national Tse Chi Lop was detained at Amsterdam’s Schipol International Airport on Friday, according to Australian Federal Police (AFP), which has taken the lead in a sprawling international investigation. Before his arrest, Tse was one of the world’s most-wanted fugitives.
Authorities allege that Tse, 57, is the leader of the Sam Gor Syndicate, arguably the biggest drug-trafficking operation in Asia’s history. Experts say he is in the same league as notorious drug lords El Chapo and Pablo Escobar.

Source: Tse Chi Lop, one of the world’s biggest drug dealers, arrested in Amsterdam – CNN