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Heroin with $23,000 street value seized, 2 juveniles arrested in Connellsville bust

| Saturday, April 5, 2014, 1:11 a.m.
Mark Hofmann | Daily Courier
Guns, bullets, money and nearly 1,000 stamp bags of heroin were seized this week after Connellsville police arrested two juvenile males from McKeesport. The street value of the drugs is approximately $23,000.

Connellsville police reported on Friday that two juveniles were charged, and additional arrests are likely, following a drug bust that took about $23,000 worth of drugs off the streets.

“This was a big one,” city police Chief James Capitos said concerning the arrests of two male juveniles from McKeesport, with one having ties to Connellsville.

The origins of the arrests occurred on Wednesday afternoon when police pulled over a vehicle for a traffic violation. The driver and passenger were found to be in possession of suspected drugs, and police reportedly were able to get information from where the drugs were purchased.

At 8:36 p.m., police executed a search warrant at an apartment in Gibson Terrace, where they located the two juveniles.

Capitos said one of the juveniles attempted to hide a silver revolver handgun under a bedsheet. Police also found a .40 caliber handgun under a pillow in the apartment.

Police seized the guns and bullets, $1,412 in cash, digital scales, hypodermic needles, cell phones, Oxycodone, cocaine and a total of 955 stamp bags of heroin that have a street value of $23,000.

“By Friday, it would have all been distributed throughout the city of Connellsville,” Capitos said. “That's a scary thought.”

Capitos said heroin has made an incredible comeback to not just Connellsville, but everywhere, which makes it close to being an epidemic since today's heroin is extremely pure, extremely strong and easier to cause an overdose.

While Capitos said he doesn't know exactly what can be done to end the drug problem in Fayette County and the city, he said his experience in law enforcement leads him to believe the decriminalization and legalization of drugs would not be the answer, even if it's just marijuana.

“Not everyone who smokes marijuana will use heroin, but everyone who uses heroin started with marijuana,” Capitos said.

Until something is done, Capitos said they will continue investigating drug activity and making arrests of users and dealers.

“We need to get them off the streets, and the courts need to keep them off the street,” Capitos said.

Those who suspect drug activity can make an anonymous phone call or email to the Fayette County Drug Task Force at 724-415-3100 or drugtips@zoominternet.net and provide a tip that will lead either the task force or local police department to investigate.

The two juveniles were lodged in the Westmoreland County Detention Center and will go through juvenile court. Capitos said although the juveniles were found with guns, they cannot be charged as adults because they did not use the guns.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writerforTrib Total Media.

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