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Charleroi traffic stop results in drug arrest

| Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 12:21 a.m.
Melissa Ann Longo, 27, of Elizabeth, arrested and charged with possessing 130 stamp bags of heroin, $1,075 in cash and a small baggie of cocaine following a Monday afternoon traffic stop in Charleroi.

A traffic stop in Charleroi turned into what police are calling a “good pinch,” resulting in the seizure of about 2 12 bricks of suspected heroin and more than $1,000 from an Elizabeth woman.

Charleroi Regional Police said Melissa Ann Longo, 27, of 4974 Williamsport Road, Apt. A, tried to hide the suspected drugs in her underwear.

Police said Longo ran a stop sign 3:02 p.m. Monday at the intersection of Meadow Avenue and Sixth Street.

Officer Michael Leasure said that as he was checking Longo's driver's information he and Officer John Mitaly saw Longo in the passenger seat reaching toward her right side and fiddling with a zipper bag near the center console.

Leasure said that after the officers began to search the vehicle, he saw Longo, who was standing near the rear of his police cruiser, shove her right hand inside her bra.

Suspicious that Longo had a weapon, Leasure placed Longo in handcuffs and into the rear of the patrol car.

Leasure said the vehicle search revealed a digital scale and a purse and zipper bag containing $1,075 near the place Longo had been seated.

Later at the police station, a female officer was called in to search Longo.

The female officer allegedly found a small bag of cocaine in Longo's bra. The officer also found two bricks of purported heroin wrapped in newspaper and three individual bundles of heroin inside the front of Longo's panties.

The suspected heroin was packaged in white bags stamped “Ride Along” in blue ink. One bundle of heroin equals 10 stamp bags.

One brick contains five bundles, or 50 stamp bags. Leasure estimated the street value from $750 to more than $1,000.

“For a traffic stop, this was a pretty good pinch,” Leasure said Tuesday. “Finding the scale and considering the amount of heroin and cash, this indicates it was not for personal use and that she was selling or planning to sell.”

Longo was charged with one felony count of possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance, two misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance, and single counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and obedience to traffic control devices.

She was arraigned via video before City of Washington Magisterial District Judge Robert Redlinger and sent to the Washington County Correctional Facility.

She was released Monday evening after posting $20,000 bond.

Longo's preliminary hearing is scheduled 10 a.m. April 7 before Magisterial District Judge Larry Hopkins in Charleroi.

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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