Monongahela traffic stop results in new heroin case
A West Mifflin man facing trial on drug charges allegedly told Monongahela police he continues to sell heroin because “business is slow.”
Now he faces more charges in a new case.
Jeffrey John Martinez, 43, of 307 Village Lane Road, was charged following a traffic stop 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Officer William Fusco said he recognized Martinez, who was driving a gold Chevrolet Silverado at the intersection of Seventh and West Main streets. Fusco said he knew Martinez's license has been suspended for a DUI conviction.
When Fusco asked Martinez if he had weapons or anything else illegal in his possession, the suspect allegedly replied, “You know what I got.”
Martinez allegedly pulled an Altoid mints container from the waistband of his pants and gave it to Fusco. It contained 37 stamp bags of suspected heroin, police said.
As Martinez was being handcuffed, he allegedly told Fusco, “I have a good bit more in the passenger seat compartment.”
That's where Fusco discovered 100 stamp bags of suspected heroin, $332 and two hypodermic needles. Martinez allegedly told police he's a heroin user, but also sells it on the side because “business is slow.”
He is charged with 15 counts each of manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance (15 bundles of suspected heroin), and single counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with a suspended license.
Martinez was arraigned via video at Night Court by Magisterial District Judge Larry Hopkins and sent to the Washington County Correctional Facility in lieu of $25,000 bond.
He faces a preliminary hearing 1:15 p.m. May 22 before Magisterial District Judge Mark Wilson in Monongahela.
It is the second time Fusco arrested Martinez on drug charges.
Martinez allegedly drove his car into the rear of another vehicle Feb. 13 in Finleyville. Fusco found three stamp bags of suspected heroin in Martinez's possession and another 27 stamp bags inside the suspect's vehicle.
In that case, Martinez was free on bail. He faces charges of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with a suspended license.
He is awaiting a trial on those charges in Washington County Court.
Monongahela police Chief Brian Tempest described Martinez as a mid-level street dealer.
City police have been making numerous drug arrests, seizing hundreds of stamp bags of heroin before the illicit drugs make it to the street, Tempest said.
Tempest said that in the wake of the crackdown on illegal drug activity by Mon Valley police and county drug task forces, the price of heroin is rising.
“They were going for as low as $7, now they're as high as $15,” Tempest said of individual stamp bags.
Monongahela Mayor Bob Kepics praised the department.
“They are sending the message with all of these arrests that we won't tolerate drugs in our city,” Kepics said.
Stacy Wolford is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-684-2640 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Monessen nuisance bar hearing opens
- Former Monessen Mayor Smith injured in train crossing crash
- Charleroi man charged in 3 cases
- Home health care worker assaulted in Monongahela
- Donora man apprehended after North Belle Vernon pharmacy robbery
- Cal U’s 22 Pushups effort draws attention to suicide by veterans
- Second career choice leads to business ownership in Charleroi
- Charleroi Area mulls wrestling team future
- DA Vittone gives Washington County $100K from drug forfeitures
- Donora council mediates dispute between former, current garbage haulers
- ‘Runner’ sets pace in new TV venture for Donora native Moses