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Jeannette officers make drug bust while trying to serve warrant

| Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
John Howard | The Jeannette Spirit
Jeannette K9 Patrolman Justin Scalzo, Cpl. Chris Mason and Mayor Robert Carter look over the items seized during a search of a North Fifth Street home last week.

While attempting to serve a warrant against one Jeannette man last Thursday, city police ended up making a drug bust and bringing in the wanted man in the same night.

City police K9 officer Justin Scalzo and Cpl. Chris Mason originally went to Patton Avenue in search of Gerald Wayne Kirk, a 26-year-old Jeannette man wanted on charges of statutory sexual assault in a case involving a 14-year-old girl, aggravated indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors and furnishing alcohol to minors.

“We were trying to locate (Kirk) on a felony warrant,” said Scalzo.

Someone at the Patton Avenue residence explained that Kirk was at a home on North Fifth Street.

“Mason went to the rear of the residence and I knocked on the front door,” Scalzo said. “No one answered, but Mason saw them inside. After 10 minutes, a woman opened the door and an overwhelming smell of marijuana came from inside. The woman said Kirk had left the home.”

Scalzo said Kirk had been tipped off and fled the home, so he asked all of those who were still inside the home to come outside.

One of those men, Jordan Haynes-Smith, 21, lived at the North Fifth Street address and, according to Scalzo, he admitted he'd been smoking marijuana inside the house.

“I told him I needed to have everyone come outside because I was going to apply for a search warrant because he's admitting there are drugs inside,” Scalzo said.

Instead, Haynes-Smith told Scalzo he didn't need to apply for the warrant and he signed his permission for officers to search the residence. Scalzo said Haynes-Smith admitted to him that everything the officers would find inside belonged to him and he didn't want anyone else to get in trouble for his actions.

Once inside, officers found “more than a little bit of marijuana,” various items related to processing drugs for street sale such as scales, baggies and bags of marijuana “prepackaged for street level sales,” said Scalzo.

Officers also found two handguns, at least one of them stolen. A silver .45 caliber Ruger semi-automatic handgun with hollow-point bullets was recovered and is confirmed to have been stolen from Jeannette in April.

“A hollow-point is a deadly round. It's what law enforcement carries,” said Scalzo.

A black 9mm Taurus semi-automatic pistol was also seized and officers were researching the weapon to determine if it was also stolen.

“Both guns were sent to the crime lab to make sure they were not used in violent crimes and to get latent fingerprints off of them,” said Scalzo.

Haynes-Smith is now in Westmoreland County Prison unable to post $75,000 bond and is charged with possession of drugs with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and receiving stolen property.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. today in front of District Judge Joe DeMarchis. Haynes-Smith is also awaiting trial in the Court of Common Pleas on simple assault, burglary, conspiracy to commit burglar and conspiracy to commit simple assault charges stemming from an incident in Greensburg last July.

“While we were there getting everyone out of the house, the other guy (Kirk) came back and turned himself in to us. So we got him off the streets, too.”

Kirk is in Westmoreland County Prison unable to post the $25,000 bail set in his case. His preliminary hearing is also set for 8:30 a.m. today in front of DeMarchis.

“We've always been aggressive with narcotics,” said Scalzo. “The police have been watching certain areas where there are a lot of drug complaints and we're stepping up our drug enforcement. Mayor (Robert) Carter is a big supporter of any resources we need for these searches.

“We had to call out another officer during this case. (Carter) assists us in any way possible to get these drugs off the streets.”

Kristie Linden is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at klinden@tribweb.com or 724-838-5154.

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