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3 charged with heroin trafficking in Indiana County

| Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 11:48 a.m.
Derrick Clemons, 36, of Armstrong Township, Indiana County, was arraigned July 8, 2014, on charges of operating a heroin trafficking ring in Indiana County.
Justine Henry, 20, 1068 Gompers Ave., Indiana, Indiana County, was charged on July 8, 2014, with two counts of delivery of heroin and two counts of criminal conspiracy.
Jackie Kinter, 41, 44 Cosmos Lane, Indiana, Indiana County, was charged on July 8, 2014, with one count of delivery of heroin and two counts of criminal conspiracy.

Derrick Clemons of Indiana County once tried to outsmart police by hiding cocaine in his crotch during an arrest for drug dealing, narcotics agents said.

Clemons, 36, never held a job but owned luxury cars, including two BMWs and a Lexus, according to a state grand jury presentment.

The Armstrong Township man was on parole from a federal drug conviction on Tuesday when he was charged by the grand jury with operating a heroin distribution network in Indiana County, the state attorney general said.

Charged were Justine Henry, 20, and Jackie Kinter, 41, both of Indiana. The grand jury said they acted as “runners” for Clemons, taking orders on cellphones and delivering heroin to customers.

In 2010, Clemons was sentenced to five years in prison for selling cocaine and is on parole until 2016, according the presentment.

Drug agents said the heroin ring operated in Indiana and Shelocta boroughs and Armstrong Township in Indiana County.

To thwart surveillance, Clemons repeatedly changed meeting locations and arranged deliveries in remote locations accessible only by all-terrain vehicles. As another precaution, he installed surveillance cameras outside both his homes, according to the grand jury.

Agents said they made a series of controlled buys of 267 stamp bags of heroin from the suspects and seized 22 more bags at Clemons' Buckley Road residence in Armstrong, along with $1,000 and Suboxone, a prescription drug that helps heroin addict through withdrawal, the presentment states.

Clemons is charged with 10 counts of delivery of heroin, one count of possession with the intent to deliver heroin and two counts each of criminal conspiracy and corrupt organizations.

Henry and Kinter are charged with two counts each of delivery of heroin and criminal conspiracy.

Clemons was arrested in 2007 on three outstanding warrants for drug dealing. He was indicted by a federal grand jury the following year for trafficking in powdered and crack cocaine, according to court records. During a strip search, police discovered that Clemons had stashed bags of cocaine in his crotch.

Rural Indiana County is experiencing the same problems with heroin as other, more populated areas of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

In 2012, federal agents broke up a ring they said was shipping heroin from Detroit into Blairsville.

In May, a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh indicted 44 people for heroin trafficking, including some from Indiana County.

Richard is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6292 or at rgazarik@tribweb.com.

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