Ex-drug user stings alleged Youngwood dealer
A former drug user testified Tuesday that he has grown tired of the increasing drug-addiction problem in Westmoreland County, so he telephoned state police several weeks ago offering to assist in breaking up a high-volume heroin and cocaine distribution ring in Youngwood.
As a result of subsequent undercover drug purchases, Warren “Jay” Jackson, 32, of Jacksonville was ordered by District Judge James Falcon to stand trial on multiple drug possession and distribution charges related to running a drug operation from a home at 228 S. Sixth St.
Jackson, who is also facing a charge of illegally possessing a firearm, and Jerome D. “Shorty” Poole, 26, of 115 Byers Ave., New Stanton, were arrested after William B. Allen, 50, of the Latrobe area, made an undercover drug buy of three rocks of crack cocaine from the men April 1 in the parking lot of Sheetz convenience store along Route 119 in Youngwood.
Troopers testified Allen had made another undercover drug purchase March 13 at the Youngwood Laundromat from Poole.
State police subsequently searched the nearby South Sixth Street residence where the pair allegedly did business and discovered more than $100,000 worth of heroin, $2,400 worth of cocaine, plus $10,000 in cash, according to court papers.
Trooper John Isoldi testified troopers and Westmoreland County detectives obtained a search warrant April 2 to look inside a rental storage unit Jackson leased in Hempfield and found another 12 bricks of heroin with an estimated street value of $13,000; seven ounces of cocaine; a 9 mm pistol and ammunition; a .45-caliber handgun; and more than $10,000 inside a shoebox.
Police recovered 36 individual packets of cocaine hidden in the ceiling of Jackson's Cadillac Escalade, county detective Tony Marcocci testified.
Both Isoldi and Trooper Jeff Brautigam testified the storage unit had been recently leased by Jackson.
Jackson's attorney, Matthew Schimizzi of Greensburg, asked Allen why he decided to telephone police.
“You're saying it was for the good of the community?” asked Schmizzi.
“That's about it,” Allen replied.
Falcon postponed Poole's hearing because he has not hired an attorney. He told Falcon he is not eligible for a public defender.
Following the hearing, Schimizzi asked Falcon to reduce Jackson's $325,000 bond.
But Assistant District Attorney Jackie Knupp said the high bond is necessary because of the amount of drugs involved and Jackson's prior drug distribution convictions in Illinois.
“We're reading every day in the newspaper about the heroin overdose problem in our community. It's very serious and we feel the amount of bond is appropriate in this case,” Knupp said.
Falcon denied Schimizzi's request. Poole is being held in the prison on $325,000 bond.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or firstname.lastname@example.org.