Police charge New Kensington man in marijuana bust
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.
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.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Harrison rejects criticism of disorderly conduct ordinance
- Apollo Council, solicitor prepare vacancy ordinance
- Labor United Celebration draws 25,000 to Northmoreland Park
- Drownings surge in Pennsylvania over past 2 years
- 3 wrecks Saturday keep emergency responders busy
- Suspended Gilpin police officers to have their say
- ‘He’s still a part of this team’: Burrell honors player who died during preseason
- Burrell, psychologist settle lawsuit
- Leechburg Area replaces standout softball coach, who was cited for shoving student
- Burglaries in Oakmont similar to break-ins in other communities
- End in sight for Route 28 construction