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.
(CNN)The proportion of schizophrenia cases linked with problematic use of marijuana has increased over the past 25 years, according to a new study from Denmark.In 1995, 2% of schizophrenia diagnoses in the country were associated with cannabis use disorder. In 2000, it increased to around 4%. Since 2010, that figure increased to 8%, the study found.“I think it is highly important to use both our study and other studies to highlight and emphasize that cannabis use is not harmless,” said Carsten Hjorthøj, an associate professor at the Copenhagen Research Center for Mental Health and an author of the study published in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry, via email.“There is, unfortunately, evidence to suggest that cannabis is increasingly seen as a somewhat harmless substance. This is unfortunate, since we see links with schizophrenia, poorer cognitive function, substance use disorders, etc,” Hjorthøj wrote.
Previous research has suggested that the risk of schizophrenia is heightened for people who use cannabis, and the association is particularly driven by heavy use of the drug. Many researchers hypothesize that cannabis use may be a “component cause,” which interacts with other risk factors, to cause the condition.”
Of course, our findings will have to be replicated elsewhere before firm conclusions can be drawn,” Hjorthøj continued. “But I do feel fairly confident that we will see similar patterns in places where problematic use of cannabis has increased, or where the potency of cannabis has increased, since many studies suggest that high-potency cannabis is probably the driver of the association with schizophrenia.”
Around the world tens of millions of people use cannabis. It’s legal for recreational use in 19 US states and Canada. In these and some other places, it’s also approved to treat some medical conditions.
A Greensburg doctor pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to taking kickbacks, health care fraud and conspiring to distribute controlled substances.
Thomas Whitten, 71, will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge William S. Stickman IV on Dec. 7.
According to prosecutors, Whitten received kickbacks from Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics from May 2013 to November 2015 in exchange for prescribing Subsys, a powerful opioid containing fentanyl. Subsys, which is a liquid that gets sprayed under a patient’s tongue, is only approved for the “management of breakthrough pain in cancer patients” who have developed a tolerance to other pain killers.
However, investigators said Whitten prescribed the drug to patients for whom it was not medically necessary and, therefore, it was not eligible for insurance reimbursement.
Whitten also pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute phentermine hyrocholoride and diethlpropion to patients at five weight-loss clinics from November 2017 to December 2019.
By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new medical marijuana dispensary is opening in Pittsburgh.
“goodblend” opened at 10 a.m. Saturday on Baum Boulevard.
People who enter must have a valid Pennsylvania medical marijuana patient card.
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — At least five people are facing federal charges for their involvement in a large cocaine ring that distributed drugs throughout the region, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to a criminal complaint in U.S. District Court, Mikal Davis, James Dotson, Azheem Ellis, Dwight Logan and Timothy Mollet have been charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine.
Agents with the FBI, Department of Homeland Security were assisted by state and local law enforcement as they executed warrants at several locations throughout the city Thursday morning, according to WJAC.Investigators say the quintet distributed the drugs in the Johnstown and Monroeville areas and beyond.
According to the complaint, agents and Task Force Officers used multiple confidential informants throughout the investigation.
The complaint says investigators recorded phone calls and made controlled buys from the defendants between June 3, 2019 and March 31, 2021.
Davis is described by the FBI as the co-leader of the organization, Dotson is described as the lieutenant and Ellis, Logan and Mollet are described as distributors.
Authorities say Hector Concepcion is also facing federal charges for distributing cocaine and heroin between August 12, 2019 and December 23, 2020.
PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh mother and a man are facing charges after doctors found cocaine in the system of a 6-week-old baby.
Lindsey Satterfield, 38, took her baby to a doctor’s appointment because he kept vomiting. The doctor determined he was a pound underweight from his last appointment.
Police searched the home of Satterfield and Matthew Bell, 43, along Woodbourne Avenue in Brookline.
Inside the home, police found loose pills, stamp bags of heroin, syringes, used crack pipes and scales, according to court documents.
During an interview with police, Bell said that while he and Satterfield used crack cocaine last week, the baby was sitting in his baby swing in the living room.
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He said both he and Satterfield touched the baby after touching the crack cocaine and the crack pipe, according to the criminal complaint.
Bell further said he assumed that is how the baby tested positive for cocaine. Both Satterfield and Bell were taken to the Allegheny County Jail. Both are facing several charges, including endangering the welfare of children and aggravated assault.
[DOWNLOAD: Free WPXI apps for alerts as news breaks]The baby was rushed to the hospital, where he underwent tests to determine the cause. It was during a regular urinalysis that cocaine was discovered in his system. The baby was admitted to the hospital.
Authorities in Southern California have seized more than 16 tons ofworth an estimated $1.19 billion, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials said Wednesday. The 10-day sting is the largest eradication of illegal marijuana cultivations in the history of the department.
The operation, which began on June 8, resulted in 22 felony arrests, 109 misdemeanor arrests, and 19 arrests from water theft enforcement teams, officials said. More than 200 locations were served with search warrants. Nearly 375,000 marijuana plants and 33,480 pounds of harvested marijuana were seized, along with 65 vehicles, 180 animals and $28,000.
(CNN)A cruise ship’s security services discovered 69.5 pounds of cocaine on board the vessel last week and turned over the haul to US Customs and Border Protection officers upon docking at a Florida port, CBP said in a statement.Cruise officials alerted CBP officers assigned to Port Everglades seaport that a vessel inspection had found garbage bags with brick-shaped packages in a void space of the ship.On June 6, CBP officers met the cruise ship and security team during a maintenance stop at Port Everglades, and the packages of white powder tested positive for cocaine, CBP said.The CBP’s Advanced Tactical Cargo Enforcement Team performed a “thorough inspection” of the ship and did not find any other contraband, the agency said.
Washington — The wife of notorious Mexican drug kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán pleaded guilty on Thursday to federal charges that stem from assisting her husband run his multi-billion dollar criminal empire.
Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, entered her plea during a hearing Thursday at the federal district court in Washington, appearing in person before U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras and wearing a green prison uniform and white mask. Speaking through a Spanish translator, Coronel Aispuro told the court she is pleading guilty to all three criminal charges related to her involvement in her husband’s sprawling drug enterprise.
A suspected psychedelic mushroom grow operation was discovered in a Rostraver home Thursday while police said they were investigating threats made by the property owner, according to court papers.
Authorities arrested Michael Jonathan McClain, 45, who is being held without bond at the Westmoreland County Prison.
WOLF CREEK TWP., Pa. — Two Los Angeles, California residents are facing serious drug charges in Mercer County after more than 60 pounds of cocaine and fentanyl were found in their vehicle during a traffic stop.
The incident occurred on Interstate 80 in Wolf Creek Township on Wednesday, according to the Pennsylvania State Police.
Police said the vehicle was pulled over for traffic violations, and during the investigation 29 kilograms, or 63.8 pounds, of cocaine and fentanyl were found in hidden compartments within the vehicle.
Alvaro Elenes, 44, and Gabriel Garcia, 26, both of Los Angeles, California, were arrested and are being held in the Mercer County Jail on $500,000 bail each. They were both charged with felony drug charges.
The both are scheduled for preliminary hearings on June 16.
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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. — A state trooper netted a massive cache of drugs when he pulled over a drunk driver along Interstate 95 in Henrico County early Saturday morning, according to Virginia State Police.
Trooper J. Rivera stopped a car he clocked at 94 mph in a 65 mph zone on I-95 north near the exit for Chamberlayne Avenue, state police officials posted on Facebook.
Troopers said 36-year-old Sohail Farooque of Chester was arrested on DUI and illegal drug charges.
Upon arrival, officers noticed a hypodermic needle sticking out of the top of the alleged suspect’s shirt.
The woman and a male driver were arrested for drug possession charges after officers found more hypodermic needles in the car, plus cocaine and fentanyl.
Sen. Chuck Schumer said that he would be introducing a marijuana bill “shortly,” one that would not only legalize the drug but would expunge past records.
“Here’s the immediate time frame,” the New York Democrat told podcast host and former South Carolina representative Bakari Sellers. “The three people working on a comprehensive bill are myself, Senator [Ron] Wyden and Senator [Corey] Booker, and we will be introducing our bill shortly.”
“It is not just legalization but a deal for the injustices of the past expungement of the records making sure that the money that’s made from marijuana goes to the communities, communities of color, poor people communities, that have paid the price for this ridiculous scheduling of marijuana,” Schumer said.
“We’re going to get some support from the right on this, we hope,” Schumer continued. “It’s going to take a little while, we’re going to need a mass campaign, but there’s real excitement in the country to do this right now.”
Porto Alegre, Brazil (CNN)Twenty-five people, including one police officer, were killed in a police anti-drug raid in a slum on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro, according to state police, despite a Supreme Court order banning such operations other than in “absolutely exceptional” circumstances during the pandemic.Human rights groups and academic researchers say the widely criticized raid in the Jacarezinho favela was among the deadliest operations in the history of Rio de Janeiro, a state of 17 million that in 2020 alone tallied 1,239 people killed by the police, according to the state government’s Institute for Public Security (ISP.)In a press conference late Thursday, a spokesman for the Rio de Janeiro Civil Police said the purpose of the operation was to prevent drug traffickers from forcing minors to join gangs. “We went to that community to guarantee the rights of that population that lives under the dictatorship of drug trafficking,” Felipe Curi, director of the General Department of Specialized Police said.According to the Civil Police, 200 officers took part in the operation authorities said followed months of investigation and aimed to prevent drug traffickers from forcing minors to join gangs. The raid led to the arrest of six people and the seizure of 20 guns, in addition to what the police called “abundant amounts of drugs.”