Sheriff padlocks North Huntingdon lounge

| Friday, Nov. 9, 2012, 12:36 p.m.

Three people were arrested in a raid at a North Huntingdon lounge, which was padlocked Friday and it was declared a public nuisance.

About 30 officers were involved in executing a search warrant leading to the arrest of three people for alleged drug dealing and prostitution at Gloria's Cantina Lounge, 14289 Route 30, Thursday night.

Westmoreland County Judge Gary Caruso signed a temporary injunction Friday declaring the lounge a “public nuisance which threatens the peace, safety and public welfare and morals of the commonwealth.”

Judge Richard McCormick Jr. will hold a hearing Tuesday to determine if the lounge should remain closed.

Sheriff Jonathan Held padlocked the lounge Friday afternoon and a sheriff's deputy posted the court order on the door.

Arrested Thursday night were Nathan Edward Moore, 34, of 484 Third St., Apt. 5, Pitcairn, who is charged with six counts of drug possession with intent to deliver; Ashlee Nicole Campbell, 30, of 143 North Ave., Apt. 1, East Pittsburgh, who is charged with one count of drug possession with intent to deliver; and Selene Amber Vicini, 35, of 531 Case St., Apt. 8, Rochester, Beaver County, who is charged with one count of prostitution.

The charges resulted after a three-month investigation at the gentlemen's club by undercover officers, state police said.

Police executed a search warrant at the lounge about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, when the three suspects were arrested. Police said they seized video recording equipment and address books.

At a news conference, North Huntingdon Detective Sgt. Jeffrey Bouldin said investigators acquired the warrant to investigate allegations of prostitution, which subsequently spawned a drug investigation.

The court order cited the current arrests as well as an incident in 2011 when one man shot another in the men's bathroom at Gloria's with a 9mm handgun.

“We've had numerous incidents and actually numerous complaints about activity that takes place out there,” Bouldin said. “With the prostitution suspected, drug activity, gun activity, it is a concern for us as a police department and a concern for the welfare of the people that live in North Huntingdon Township.”

On Aug. 22, an undercover trooper spoke with Campbell, also known as “Arial,” who later offered Vicodin or Percocet to the officer for $5 each, according to court documents. A few minutes later, Campbell gave the trooper seven pills in exchange for $25.

During an arraignment before North Huntingdon District Judge Doug Weimer, Campbell said she takes Percocet for back pain because five years ago she was struck by a bus.

On Sept. 5, an undercover officer was approached by dancers at Gloria's and they “talked very explicitly about sex,” according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Two dancers asked if the trooper was interested in getting a private room where “there were no cameras and 'anything goes,'” it said.

Vicini, a dancer who introduced herself as “Samantha Rose,” talked with the officer and offered a private room, police said.

Vicini told the officer to pay the bartender $60, then the officer was taken by the hand upstairs to a private room, the affidavit said. The woman tried to initiate a sex act, it said. She asked for a tip for her “dance” and the officer gave her $30, according to police.

Between Sept. 20 and Oct. 11, undercover officers bought suspected cocaine six times from Moore at Gloria's Cantina, police alleged.

Each time, Moore was paid $100 and officers received varying amounts of what was purported to be cocaine, police said. On one occasion, however, the suspected cocaine was counterfeit.

On Oct. 10, they were greeted by Moore, also known as “Bam,” who waved for an officer to follow him into the bathroom at Gloria's, according to an affidavit. Moore walked behind a bathroom partition and said “You're gonna like this, I just got it. It's fire,” then handed over a bag of cocaine, police said.

Vicini is free on $5,000 bond. Moore and Campbell are being held in the county prison. Moore's bail was set at $150,000; Campbell's at $25,000.

Weimer has scheduled preliminary hearings for the three suspects on Nov. 19.

In addition to the state police vice unit, assisting township police were the state attorney general's Drug Task Force and Liquor Control Enforcement officers.

District Attorney John Peck said this is the 12th nuisance bar in Westmoreland County he has sought to close in his 16 years in office and the first in North Huntingdon. Most of the others were in the Monessen and New Ken-sington areas , he said.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or Rich Cholodofsky, a staff writer for Trib Total Media, contributed.

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