A Penn Hills man who works for the Port Authority moonlights as a major cocaine trafficker, according to an affidavit unsealed on Thursday in federal court.
Federal prosecutors have charged John Saban Jr., 50, with participating in a drug conspiracy. Saban on Wednesday waived his right to a preliminary hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy and posted a $10,000 unsecured bond.
He and his lawyer, Michael Foglia, couldn't be reached for comment.
Investigators assigned to an interagency task force in Los Angeles intercepted Saban on July 14 when he showed up at a Federal Express facility in Van Nuys, Calif., to pick up a package containing about $32,000, according to an affidavit by DEA Special Agent Kevin Black.
Saban told investigators that the money was to hire entertainers for Pittsburgh area clubs, but he couldn't provide them with the names of any clubs, the affidavit said. A subsequent search of Saban's 2011 Ford Explorer turned up another $252,000, according to the affidavit.
Saban told investigators that he was laid off from the Port Authority and receiving unemployment.
Jim Ritchie, spokesman for the Port Authority of Allegheny County, said Saban is employed and performs light maintenance on buses.
"When we become aware of an issue, we investigate," Ritchie said.
From further intercepted packages and phone taps, the investigators determined that Saban was running a cocaine trafficking ring that used Federal Express and UPS to bring in cocaine from Las Vegas, the affidavit says.
The DEA has charged 10 people with participating in the ring, which operated in Penn Hills and Garfield.
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.