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Accused border smuggler Valley man

| Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

When he was arrested along the Mexico-U.S. border in California Jan. 15, it wasn't the first time James Perry III allegedly asked a woman to stash drugs for him.

Perry, 44, a Belle Vernon resident, is scheduled for a May 5 trial in Westmoreland County Court on charges related to a summer 2011 case in which he allegedly supplied Kimberly Ann Kibelbek, 47, of 916 Brown St., North Belle Vernon, with heroin in exchange for using her 423 Third St., Monessen, residence to stash the drug.

At the time of his arrest in the Westmoreland case, he lived in Fayette City.

In the California case, Perry and Samantha Rose Kurdilla, 22, of 1043 Broad Ave., North Belle Vernon, were detained by federal authorities after she allegedly attempted to smuggle cocaine in her vaginal cavity.

Kurdilla and Perry are charged with unlawful importation of a controlled substance.

Kurdilla is being held in lieu of $30,000 bond at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego.

A 2008 Belle Vernon Area High School graduate, Kurdilla faces a Feb. 15 preliminary hearing before Judge Barbara L. Major, federal magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Perry is being held without bail, because the government labeled him as a flight risk. His preliminary hearing is scheduled Jan. 31.

Westmoreland case

Perry was charged July 21, 2011, by Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office with three counts of conspiracy-manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance and four counts of possession with intent to deliver or manufacture.

Kibelbek was charged the same day with three counts each of conspiracy-manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, possession with intent to deliver or manufacture, and possession of a controlled substance; and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

The 2011 criminal complaint alleges Kibelbek told police she took “five to eight” trips to New York City with Perry in 2010 to buy heroin. Kibelbek told police she “tested heroin” and hid it on the ride home from New York.

Perry told police he bought heroin in New York's Harlem neighborhood, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Perry said his last trip to Harlem was in January 2011, at which time he was accompanied by Kibelbek.

The affidavit states that Perry said he had a local source in Pittsburgh, from whom he bought heroin four to five times a year.

Police said that while arresting Perry, they found a key in his possession that opened a safe in the Monessen house.

The safe contained 37.4 grams of heroin; 21.6 grams of crack cocaine; and 8.2 grams of cocaine.

Kibelbek pleaded guilty in the case and was sentenced Jan 4 to three to six years in prison. She received credit for time already served. As of presstime Friday, she remained in the Westmoreland County Prison.

Perry was released after posting $75,000 bond.

On the border

At midnight on Jan. 15, a Customs and Border Protection canine officer at the San Ysidro port of entry pedestrian crossing detected an odor from Kurdilla's groin area, according to a probable cause statement filed in the U.S. District Court in San Diego.

Kurdilla allegedly told authorities she was going to the Best Western Hotel in San Diego and that she had been partying with Perry.

Perry ultimately admitted he and Kurdilla had been smoking marijuana in Mexico, according to the probable cause statement.

It was later determined Kurdilla had a condom filled with a white powdery substance in her vaginal cavity. A field test revealed the substance was cocaine, according to the probable cause statement.

Kurdilla eventually admitted to authorities she was smuggling drugs into the U.S. “in exchange for compensation.”

She told authorities the drugs were given to her by Perry, the affidavit stated.

Perry allegedly admitted he was smuggling the drugs, which he bought in Tijuana, Mexico, and that he told Kurdilla to conceal the drugs.

A search of Kurdilla's cellular telephone revealed text messages sent to an unknown person indicating she was, “smuggling cocaine and heroin” inside her body.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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