Authorities raid West Tarentum home

Chuck Biedka
| Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, 6:01 p.m.

A 28-year-old Tarentum man accused of robbing a gas station in October was arrested Monday for allegedly having drug paraphernalia.

Justin Lamb, who is awaiting trial in Allegheny County next month, was on the business end of a flash-bang grenade when the West Ninth Avenue house where he was staying was raided by Pennsylvania attorney general's agents and Tarentum, Frazer and East Deer police.

No drugs were found in the home, investigators said.

State Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane was on hand for the 5:30 p.m. entry at 242 W. Ninth Ave.

As the all-clear was sounded, Kane heard some neighbors clap and cheer the raid.

“I'm very happy. They need to keep working to clean it up,” said neighbor Tangela Smith.

“We have kids on this street. I can't allow mine to go outside because of so many addicts on the street,” she said.

“There's constant traffic. People walking and people driving up for drugs,” said neighbor Jessica Vigeno.

“We need to get drugs off the streets as much as we can,” said Sean Dicer, a Tarentum resident and teacher at Grandview Upper Elementary School in Tarentum.

“I see the drug problem daily. The police do what they can. I'm always glad to get it off the streets,” he said.Kane said the raid and others like it will address community concerns and give residents hope — a pledge she made when she took office about 19 months ago.“This shows that we're doing our jobs. We're doing the right thing,” she said.

Kane said AG agents and local police task forces across the state are trying to find the source of drugs wherever they are, including “all the way to Mexico.”

Her office believes one or more cartels are responsible for shipping heroin into the state.

Agents won't identify the cartels by name.

Monday's raid was the 20th such search warrant served by the task force in the Alle-Kiski Valley so far this year.“It doesn't end here,” Kane said.

“Sometimes, when we serve a search warrant, we find drugs. Sometimes, it's better to make an arrest for families who have children even if we don't find drugs,” AG regional supervisory Agent Dave Ellis said.

Earlier this month, the same task force charged a man with having 600 stamp bags of heroin in the parking lot of the Pittsburgh Mills mall.

Lamb was the only one charged Monday and could face a return to jail to await trial.

He is accused of the Oct. 23 armed robbery of the Marathon gas station at Tarentum Bridge Road and East Seventh Avenue.

In addition to two counts of robbery, Lamb is accused of receiving stolen property, terroristic threats, having a gun when he isn't legally allowed, theft, simple assault and traffic offenses.

He is scheduled to have a non-jury trial Sept. 15.

Chuck Biedka is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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