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State police: $1 million worth of heroin found in Pittsburgh man's car during turnpike traffic stop

Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review - Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Michael Volk (left) and Cpl. Michael Buncich display about 1,000 bricks of heroin on Monday that were seized during a traffic stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Somerset County on Friday April 5, 2013.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review</em></div>Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Michael Volk (left) and Cpl. Michael Buncich display about 1,000 bricks of heroin on Monday that were seized during a traffic stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Somerset County on Friday April 5, 2013.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review - Members of the Pennsylvania State Police display about 1,000 bricks of heroin that were seized during a traffic stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Somerset County on Friday.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review</em></div>Members of the Pennsylvania State Police display about 1,000 bricks of heroin that were seized during a traffic stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Somerset County on Friday.
submitted - Warren Charles Green IV
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>submitted</em></div>Warren Charles Green IV

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Monday, April 8, 2013, 9:12 a.m.
 

State troopers said the $1 million worth of heroin seized from a Pittsburgh man's car during a traffic stop Friday morning on the Pennsylvania Turnpike could be a record amount in Somerset County.

“We are almost certain that the stop resulted in what we believe to be one of the largest seizures of controlled substances, for street value, ever in Somerset County,” said District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser. “The substance in question is heroin and we believe, without the lab giving us absolute certainty on the weight and quantity, that it's about 1,000 of what they call ‘bricks' of heroin.”

Warren Charles Green IV, 25, whose last known address was Berksire Avenue, Pittsburgh, was stopped by Trooper Michael Volk for speeding in Somerset Township about 10 a.m. Friday.

A drug dog indicated the presence of heroin in the trunk of Green's silver Chevrolet Impala, according to Volk. The trunk had been altered to prevent it from being unlocked, Volk said.

“It was located in the trunk that had been disabled so we had to access it a different way,” Volk said. “It was opened with a search warrant.”

A red duffel bag inside the trunk contained 20 packages wrapped in black plastic containing bricks of heroin.

“Each brick consists of five bundles, each bundle consisting of 10 individual dose stamp bags,” Volk said. “Each brick would then have 50 individual stamp bags. A thousand bricks makes about 50,000 individual stamp bags.”

The total street value projection was calculated based on a street price of $20 per stamp bag.

Lazzari-Strasiser said because of the ongoing investigation, she could not release a description of the stamp design on the individual dose bags.

“I haven't seen it, but I've heard of it,” she said of the stamp. “This is the first I've seen it in Somerset.”

Authorities declined to reveal where Green had gotten on the turnpike or his intended destination. He was traveling west at 79 mph when he was stopped near mile marker 114, Volk said.

Green was “polite and cooperative, very businesslike,” during the stop, Volk said. There were no outstanding warrants for Green, who has prior convictions for heroin possession, Volk said.

Green is being held in the Somerset County Jail because he was unable to post $750,000 bond on charges including possession and possession with intent to deliver heroin.

Lazzari-Strasiser said the large amount of heroin found in Green's vehicle will carry mandatory minimum sentences.

“This is a serious amount of drugs, and I would venture to say that even if it wasn't going to be dropped off at the Somerset exit, that these stamp bags eventually, whatever city their ultimate destination would be, would have ended up here in some form or fashion — either by someone going to Pittsburgh and buying it or a smaller quantity being delivered for sale here,” Lazzari-Strasiser said.

“(Heroin is) horrible because it doesn't smell, it's small, it can be contained,” Lazzari-Strasiser added. “And unfortunately, because of traffickers like this, it's readily available.”

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913, or greinbold@tribweb.com.

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