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4 arrested in raid; drugs seized in West Tarentum

| Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 12:19 p.m.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Smoke from a flash-bang device envelopes 414 Walters Way in Tarentum's West Tarentum neighborhood as the state Attorney General's Drug Task Force entry team makes their way into the alley house on Tuesday, July 23, 2013.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Police escort Maria Rivera from 414 Walters Way in West Tarentum on Tuesday, July 23, 2013.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Police escort Brian Clinton from 414 Walters Way in West Tarentum on Tuesday, July 23, 2013.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Police escort Ernest Clinton from 414 Walters Way in Tarentum's West Tarentum neighborhood on Tuesday, July 23, 2013.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Lower Burrell Police K-9 Officer Steve Cernava uses his dog to sniff for drugs in vehicles associated with the drug raid at 414 Walters Way in West Tarentum on Tuesday, July 23, 2013.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
A potted marijuana plant sits outside 414 Walters Way in Tarentum's West Tarentum neighborhood after police staged an early morning raid on the alley house on Tuesday, July 23, 2013.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Attorney General's Drug Task Force and local police surround 414 Walters Way and begin their search for drugs in the the alley house on Tuesday, July 23, 2013.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
Smoke from a flash-bang device envelopes 414 Walters Way in Tarentum's West Tarentum neighborhood as the Attorney General's Drug Task Force and local police surround the alley house on Tuesday, July 23, 2013.

The Attorney General's Drug Task Force arrested four people during a raid Tuesday morning in the 400 block of Walters Way in Tarentum's West Tarentum neighborhood.

John Kaczor, 50, of West Eighth Avenue, Tarentum; Maria Rivera, 35, of Cleveland, Ohio; Ernest “Hood” Clinton, 30; and Brian Clinton, 35, both of 414 Walters Way, were arraigned on multiple felony drug charges in connection with an alleged drug operation inside the home.

Four children between the ages of 3 and 10 were living there, according to police.

Prior to Tuesday's raid, authorities say they learned through informants that Kaczor regularly retrieved narcotics from the Walters Way house and then sold the drugs.

Tarentum police Chief William Vakulick said police had received numerous complaints about suspicious activity there.

According to a criminal complaint, on July 15 and 21 authorities worked with an informant to buy a total of $360 worth of heroin packets from Kaczor. Both times, task force officers watched as Kaczor and the informant went into the house on Walters Way. Each time the informant was able to buy about 20 packets of heroin, police said.

About 6 a.m. Tuesday, the task force raided the Walters Way home.

Officers used flash-bangs, which emit a blinding light and loud noise intended to disorient the suspects, before entering the house.

“We didn't know what we would encounter,” Vakulick said.

Sitting in the back of the home was a five-gallon bucket with six marijuana plants. Inside, authorities found cash, heroin packets and ammunition, according to court documents.

In total, according to the criminal complaint, police seized three dozen small plastic bags and rubber bands used to package heroin, a few empty heroin bags, a box of .25-caliber ammunition and .22-caliber ammunition, two fluorescent lights and a tent used to grow plants and about $3,700 in cash.

The Clintons and Rivera are charged with criminal conspiracy, drug manufacturing and possession, endangering the welfare of children and reckless endangerment.

They were being held in the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bond.

Kaczor is charged with two counts each of drug possession, drug delivery and possession with intent to deliver. He was being held in the county jail on $15,000 bond.

The four are scheduled to have preliminary hearings on July 31 before District Judge Carolyn Bengel.

The drug bust occurs almost exactly a month after a raid on Roup Avenue in East Tarentum resulted in a handful of arrests.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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