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Five arrested in Greensburg with 9 bricks of heroin in rented car

Paul Peirce
| Monday, Oct. 16, 2017, 10:51 a.m.
From top left: Chase Ferguson, 20, of Monroeville; Kevin Hall, 20, of Pittsburgh; Marvin R. Posey, 22, of Pittsburgh; Mitchell Thompson, 19, of Wilkinsburg; Artie Ziegler, 20, of Munhall
From top left: Chase Ferguson, 20, of Monroeville; Kevin Hall, 20, of Pittsburgh; Marvin R. Posey, 22, of Pittsburgh; Mitchell Thompson, 19, of Wilkinsburg; Artie Ziegler, 20, of Munhall

Acting on a tip about a lot of traffic in and out of a Tremont Avenue home, Greensburg police on Saturday questioned five Allegheny County men sitting in a car that smelled of marijuana, then arrested them for allegedly possessing more than nine bricks of heroin.

β€œIt was definitely a large haul. They found the heroin hidden in two cardboard boxes beneath the rear bench seat,” Capt. Robert Stafford said.

The street value of the 455 bags of unmarked heroin is about $5,000.

Police charged Chase Ferguson, 20, of Monroeville; Kevin Hall, 20, and Marvin Posey, 22, both of Pittsburgh; Mitchell Thompson, 19, of Wilkinsburg; and Artie Ziegler, 20, of Munhall with manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance, violation of the controlled substances act, delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a small amount of marijuana.

According to an affidavit of probable cause, city patrolmen Shawn Denning and Henry Fontana Jr. were in an unmarked car when they received a tip from Westmoreland County Detectives about potential drug activity. When Denning and Fontana arrived about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, they saw several people sitting in a parked car on the 500 block of Tremont Avenue and approached it. Denning said the officers immediately smelled marijuana coming from the rented Nissan Maxima.

Police said Thompson, who was driving, told him they were waiting to pick up a friend. Because of the odor of marijuana, the men were ordered out of the vehicle and it was searched.

β€œA small amount of suspected marijuana was located on the rear floor area and was secured as evidence. Patrolman Fontana Jr. then located two small cardboard boxes that contained a large amount of stamp bags of suspected heroin under the rear bench seat after he lifted it up,” Denning wrote.

Denning said none of the men had a driver's license and Ferguson told officers a relative had rented the car.

The five were arraigned Sunday before Night Court Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec and ordered held in the Westmoreland County Prison after failing to post $100,000 bond each.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled Oct. 26 before District Judge James Albert of Greensburg.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2860, ppeirce@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ppeirce_trib

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