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Fayette task force arrests suspected mid-level dealer in Republic

| Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

A man who police called a mid-level heroin dealer who had a bulletproof vest and a stun gun stashed in his Republic home is set for arraignment on drug and related charges on Wednesday.

Members of the Fayette County Drug Task Force served a search warrant last week at the home of 21-year-old William Lee Brown and confiscated two loaded firearms, nearly 900 stamp bags of suspected heroin, a dagger, marijuana, pills and a picture frame displaying 21 $100 bills hanging in a bedroom, in addition to the vest and stun gun, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

“From what we got out of it, he seemed like he was pretty high up,” said task force Detective Norman Howard, who filed the charges Monday. “This guy was in a residential neighborhood.”

Police found three dogs in the home that appeared to be malnourished, the affidavit states. Two other dogs were in the yard, police said.

“The basement smelled of animal feces and the animals lacked proper food and water,” Howard wrote in the complaint. “The two dogs to the exterior of the residence were pit bulls and appeared to be used as a means of security for a drug distribution business.”

Task force members converged on Brown's home about 2 p.m. March 11. Brown initially refused to step outside, slammed the door and fought with investigators before giving up, according to the criminal complaint.

“While Brown was outside he continued to make utterances that all of the stuff found inside was his,” Howard wrote in the complaint.

Police found that the two firearms — a .40-caliber pistol and a .9 mm pistol — were stolen, according to the complaint.

The county Children & Youth Services were called after Brown's girlfriend and her two children arrived home during the police search. Howard requested that animal control officers remove the dogs.

Brown is charged with having unlawful body armor, possession with intent to deliver, possession of a stun gun, flight to avoid apprehension, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, possession of drug paraphernalia; two counts each of receiving stolen property, possession of an offensive weapon and endangering the welfare of children; three counts of drug possession, and five counts of cruelty to animals.

Brown was put in the Fayette County Prison last week on an unrelated drunken-driving case from December. A bench warrant was issued by an Allegheny County judge on March 3 for a probation violation in connection with a drunken-driving case in June.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or

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