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Monessen police nab couple on a variety of drug charges

| Monday, Aug. 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Jessica LaRose
Jessica LaRose
Eric Hill
Eric Hill

An ongoing investigation by Monessen police led to the arrest of a city couple in their Chestnut Street home.

Officers from Monessen on Friday executed a search warrant at 444 Chestnut St., where they arrested Eric Hill and Jessica LaRose and confiscated a small amount of heroin, marijuana and various items of drug paraphernalia.

Monessen police Chief John Mandarino said Hill, 34, who resides at the Chestnut Street address, is suspected of being a low-level dealer of crack, heroin and marijuana.

He was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance, three counts of use/possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of receiving stolen property.

He was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Joseph Dalfonso and sent to Westmoreland County Prison when he was unable to post $10,000 unsecured bond.

LaRose, 22, who also resides at the Chestnut Street address, was charged with two counts of receiving stolen property, four counts of use/possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of possession of a controlled substance. She was arraigned via video Friday evening and sent to the prison when she was unablew to post $20,000 cash bond.

Police obtained the search warrant after conducting three separate drug purchases from Hill during a month-long investigation led by Lt. James Smith.

Early Friday morning, police forced entry and found Hill and Larose in a second-floor bedroom.

Officer Aaron Thompson and K-9 officer Uri searched the bedroom and found both full and empty stamp bags of suspected heroin, a video game case with several marijuana “roaches” inside, a glass pipe used for smoking marijuana, along with three digital scales and numerous hypodermic needles and other materials commonly used to package heroin.

Mandarino said Hill told police he is an addict and sells drugs to support his habit, adding he left two stamp bags of heroin for LaRose so she wouldn't get “dope sick.” LaRose later stated she was also an addict and is three months pregnant, Mandarino said.

Mandarino said the investigation was triggered by repeated complaints from neighbors about suspicious activity and people coming in and out of the residence.

“People call to complain about drug activity and think nothing gets done, but we do listen to their complaints,” Mandarino said. “This might be the first search warrant we've executed in my time as police chief, but it's the first of many to come.”

LaRose's preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday in front of Dalfonso, while Hill has a preliminary hearing set for Aug. 30 in front of Dalfonso.

Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at rbruni@tribweb.com or 724-684-2635.

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