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Team's raid nabs teens for trafficking heroin from N. Huntingdon hotel

| Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Jeffrey Baldwin Jr., 19, of Turtle Creek was charged with selling heroin from a North Huntingdon hotel room.
Jermaine D. Cobb, 19, of Turtle Creek was charged with selling heroin out of a North Huntingdon hotel room.

Acting on a tip that two men were dealing drugs out of a North Huntingdon hotel room near the Pennsylvania Turnpike interchange, members of the state police special drug interdiction team Wednesday arrested two Allegheny County teenagers for selling a large amount of heroin.

Jeffrey N. Baldwin Jr., 19, of 111 Valley Park Drive, and Jermaine D. Cobb Jr., 19, of 659 Mercer St., both in Turtle Creek, were charged by state police after a raid of a room in the Holiday Inn Express off Route 30 resulted in the seizure of about 20 bricks of heroin plus a small amount of marijuana.

A brick of heroin is equivalent to 50 “stamp bags,” or doses of powder heroin.

The pair are charged with multiple complaints of possession of heroin and marijuana, dealing in proceeds from an unlawful activities and criminal use of communication devices.

They were arraigned before Night Court Judge Michael Mahady and placed in the county prison on $100,000 bail each.

According to affidavits of probable cause, police received a tip of suspicious activities with visitors going in and out of a room at the hotel around 10:40 a.m. Wednesday. Investigators learned that a white man rented the hotel room on Tuesday, but two young black men on Wednesday paid cash to stay an extra two days.

Undercover troopers started conducting surveillance of the room and noticed that the occupants' “cell phones were ringing at various times, and immediately after the phones would ring, a person would arrive at the hotel and knock on (the door),” according to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Trooper David Loeffler.

Police reported none of the “visitors” would enter the room, and the transactions took place in the hallway.

At about 2 p.m., troopers decided to knock on the hotel room door, but there was no immediate answer. Troopers said they smelled burning marijuana coming from inside.

A short time later, Loeffler said, the door opened and troopers found Cobb and Baldwin inside. A large amount of cash lay on a night stand, and numerous clear plastic bags “with numerous bundles of heroin” were in view on another night stand. Other bags of heroin lay on the floor.

Police said Cobb consented to a search of a duffle bag where more suspected drugs were located.

“Cobb said that there was not anything illegal (in the bag) and gave consent to search. A search of the bag resulted in the seizure of 479 stamp bags of heroin,” Loeffler reported in the affidavit.

In all, police seized 979 stamp bags of suspected heroin, valued at nearly $20,000; a “small” plastic bag containing marijuana; four cell phones and $3,722.

While looking through a backpack containing Baldwin's personal identification, police said they found a potato chip bag that contained five bricks of heroin.

Preliminary hearings are scheduled Feb. 27 before North Huntingdon District Judge Douglas Weimer.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or ppeirce@tribweb.com.

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