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Traffic stop yields drug arrests in Mon City

| Monday, May 5, 2014, 12:56 a.m.
Submitted
Monongahela police Officer Ryan Lenzi poses with heroin, cash and other paraphernalia seized during a Saturday evening traffic stop.

Three people face drug charges in the wake of a traffic stop in Monongahela.

Monongahela police said they saw Kendall Dupree, 34, 180 Morton St., New Eagle, getting into a car driven by Jessica Larose, 24, of 444 Chesnut St., Monessen, at Cherry Way just before 6 p.m. Saturday.

Officer Ryan Lenzi said he followed the silver Ford Taurus before stopping Larose in the 700 block of West Main Street because the car had an expired registration sticker.

Lenzi said Dupree, seated in the right, rear passenger seat, was acting suspiciously and “appeared to be shoving something into his waistband.”

Lenzi said he obtained identification information from Larose and her boyfriend, Eric Hill, 35, of 444 Chesnut St., Monessen.

Hill, who was in the front passenger side, had been released Saturday morning from the Westmoreland County Prison after serving time for a probation violation, Lenzi said.

Lenzi said Dupree claimed he did not have a photo ID. Asked his name, Dupree allegedly said he was James Dawson.

Lenzi immediately placed Dupree under arrest for providing false ID to law enforcement and obstruction of justice.

Lenzi said he searched Dupree and found a wad of cash totaling $581 and paper commonly used to wrap bricks of heroin.

Lenzi said that once he saw the packaging paper, he suspected Dupree was in the process of selling or transferring drugs.

Lenzi said Larose gave police permission to search the vehicle and he found a Pepsi can in the passenger side door compartment with something floating inside.

Lenzi said he cut open the top of the can and found six empty stamp bags, which are commonly used to package heroin.

Larose allegedly told Lenzi the stamp bags “may have been from her friend who shot up in the car earlier.” Hill and Larose were arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia.

“Her story wasn't matching up with what she originally stated,” Lenzi said. “We had enough probable cause to suspect there was something more to the story.”

Lenzi said he and Officer Steve Kenyon walked Dupree between two buildings for a second search that revealed a solid object in the front of the suspect's boxer shorts.

Kenyon allegedly found three bundles and one brick of suspected heroin – the equivalent of 80 stamp bags – wrapped in the same type of packaging papers found earlier.

The three were taken to the police station and arraigned at midnight via video by Magisterial District Judge Gary Havelka of Burgettstown.

Dupree is charged with 80 counts of possession with intent to deliver and possession of a controlled substance, eight counts of possession of drug paraphernalia, and single counts of conspiracy, obstructing administration of law and false ID to law enforcement.

He was sent to the Washington County Correctional Facility in lieu of $50,000 bond.

Larose and Hill each were charged with six counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and one felony count of conspiracy. They were jailed in lieu of $10,000 and $20,000 cash bond, respectively.

All three have preliminary hearings scheduled 10 a.m. May 12 before Magisterial District Judge Mark Wilson in Monongahela.

In the past week in a series of traffic stops, Monongahela police have confiscated more than 10 bricks of heroin, five grams of cocaine, marijuana and two loaded handguns.

“It's a combination of things. Right now, I've got a good group of young, aggressive police officers,” police Chief Brian Tempest said Sunday.

“Sometimes, you have to be in the right place at the right time.

“More importantly, these guys are being observant, and during routine traffic stops they're looking for telltale signs (of drug possession).”

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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