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Police charge New Kensington man in marijuana bust

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Saturday, April 14, 2012, 9:16 a.m.
 

A rapidly developing sting led to the arrest of a New Kensington man, and police confiscating about 36 pounds of marijuana -- worth more than $50,000 -- that was to be shipped to Arnold and New Kensington.

Timothy Lucas, 50, of the 500 block of Constitution Boulevard, New Kensington, is facing drug possession and delivery charges. He was in the Westmoreland County jail on Thursday night in lieu of $50,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing.

Lucas allegedly had arranged for a FedEx outlet in Plum to send him half of the drugs to an address in New Kensington and the other half to an address in Arnold.

Early Thursday, Plum police were called by the shipping company employees about two suspicious boxes.

When a Plum police dog smelled possible drugs, officers opened the boxes and allegedly found 18 pounds of the drugs inside each of two boxes.

Plum and Allegheny County District Attorney's narcotics task force agents repacked the boxes and called Westmoreland County detectives and Arnold and New Kensington police Thursday morning.

Police decided to have the boxes delivered and then watch for whoever picked them up.

Arnold police Chief Willie Weber said one of the boxes was shipped to an address in the 1600 block of Kenneth Avenue, Arnold. The other box was sent to the 500 block of Fifth Avenue, New Kensington.

At about 1:30 p.m., Lucas was arrested without incident when he went to his girlfriend's house along Kenneth Avenue to claim the box, Weber said.

"In his pocket, he had tracking numbers for both boxes," Weber said.

No one tried to claim the other box.

"We didn't expect anyone because he was already under arrest, but we wanted to see what might happen," Weber said.

Lucas is facing multiple drug charges.

"This was an example of police departments cooperating," Weber said, noting the Plum and New Kensington police. "When we get something, we just roll with it."

Plum and New Kensington police didn't return calls for comment.

Police are continuing to investigate. They haven't said if it's related to a case last year, in which marijuana had been shipped to a Plum shipping company from out-of-state. In that case, the shippers tried to use hot sauce in a futile effort to mask the scent of the marijuana.

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Additional Information:

Similar incident in 2011

In a similar case last year, Anthony L. Fontaine II, then 28 and living along Coxcomb Hill Road, was arrested in February 2011 when he signed for a package addressed to him at a false business address along Alcoa Drive in Arnold.

That box was delivered to Fontaine by an undercover Arnold policeman.

Inside, police found small bags of marijuana -- about 11 pounds in all -- under layers of hot sauce.

Police said Fontaine later told authorities he was going to sell the marijuana to a Penn Hills man. That marijuana originated in Florida.

In a plea bargain, Fontana pleaded guilty and received a sentence of 1 to 2 years in jail. Court records show he was paroled from the Allegheny County Jail last Christmas Eve.

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