Former McKeesport police lieutenant waives charges in gambling ring
A former McKeesport police lieutenant charged in connection with an alleged Mon Valley gambling ring waived his case to court on Thursday.
Arthur Pero, 56, of McKeesport waived charges of lotteries at Forest Hills Magisterial District Judge Thomas Caulfield's office.
Charges against Pero stem from his alleged involvement in an illegal gambling operation said to be led by Ronald “Porky” Melocchi Sr., owner of Glassport-based Back Alley Vending.
Pero is accused of accepting lottery bets on two occasions from an undercover state trooper at the Coffee Pot, a former city business controlled by Melocchi and run by several others also charged with gambling-related crimes.
Pero's attorney, James Anderson Crosby, could not be reached for comment.
The investigation by the Attorney General's Organized Crime Section and state police centered around Melocchi from October 2012 through Dec. 10, 2012, in what was called Operation Pork Chop. Melocchi is accused of installing, servicing and maintaining gambling devices in bars, restaurants and other locations.
Pero was working for the department during the time of the investigation. He retired on July 20, having served for at least 20 years.
His formal arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 14 at 11 a.m.
Authorities seized 354 video machines, many of which were made illegal by the presence of “knock-off” switches and internal meters. More than $1 million was seized.
Pero and Melocchi were among 16 people formally arraigned in Caulfield's chambers on Sept. 4. They were released on nonmonetary bond on condition they be fingerprinted at Pittsburgh Municipal Court on Oct. 2.
Other suspects who have waived their cases to court are Timothy Minkus, 31, of West Mifflin and Eugene “Red” Kowalski, 65, of North Huntingdon Township.
Minkus waived charges of dealing in proceeds of illegal activity, lotteries, gambling devices, conspiracy and corrupt organizations. His formal arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 30 at 11 a.m.
Kowalski waived charges of dealing in proceeds of illegal gambling activity, corrupt organizations, gambling devices and conspiracy. His formal arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 21 at 11 a.m.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or email@example.com.
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.
- Liberty public servant Owens remembered as problem solver
- Snow causes collisions, delays in Mon-Yough area
- 1 suspect arrested in deadly McKeesport shooting; 2nd still at large
- Some normalcy returns to Homestead business district devastated by fire
- Weather not a factor in deadly double SUV crash in West Mifflin
- Munhall council president charged in crash that injured woman
- South Allegheny school board makes personnel moves
- West Mifflin Area sues Martell over continuing education credit costs
- Use of police body cameras increases; Whitaker explores purchase
- Local Catholic Schools Week celebrations include fun activities, community service
- West Mifflin Area board approves contracts with teachers union, business manager