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Local men accused of hauling cocaine

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Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
 

MARSHALL, MO — Two Alle-Kiski Valley men were arrested in Missouri on Friday morning for allegedly having about $500,000 worth of cocaine hidden inside a juke box.

According to arrest reports, Lou Machen, 64, of Lynn Ann Drive, Plum, was driving a silver Chevrolet Suburban on Interstate 70 in Saline County just before 11:30 a.m. Friday when he was pulled over for an alleged improper lane change.

Machen and passenger Travis J. Lasko, 47, of Spang Ave., Leechburg, were in the Saline County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond each pending a hearing, a jail spokeswoman confirmed on Saturday.

Machen is facing vehicle and drug charges. Lasko is charged with drug possession.

In a pending federal lawsuit, Lasko is suing Leechburg Borough, its police department and the Armstrong County District Attorney for a 2006 arrest. His sentence was vacated but only after he had served 16 months of a 15- to 30-month prison sentence.

His latest arrest happened about 60 miles east of Kansas City, Mo..

In the arrest report, a patrolman said Machen allegedly told him that he and Lasko were on their way back to Pennsylvania after taking items to Los Angeles for Lasko's mother-in-law.

The patrolman said Machen was acting suspiciously and refused to allow the SUV to be searched. That's when a police dog, Puki, was brought to the scene. The dog “alerted to the odor of an illegal drug emanating from the rear of the truck,” the arrest report states.

Police say they found an “old-style” juke box in the cargo area and, behind the two speakers, patrolmen say they found about 35 pounds of powder cocaine. Police said they also found about 1.4 ounces of marijuana and some hashish.

Cocaine has a street value of about $30,000 a pound in the Alle-Kiski Valley, according to Lower Burrell police Lt. Robert Galvanek.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com.

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