Man pleads guilty; 17 others pending in Westmoreland heroin probe
One member of what police describe as a major heroin trafficking ring in Westmoreland County pleaded guilty Wednesday.
Lawyers for the remaining 17 suspects, charged last year by Greensburg and state police, appeared in another courtroom to sort through their cases, which are expected to be completed this summer.
“We consider this to be a large-scale heroin distribution network that was supplying a considerable part of heroin in the county,” Assistant District Attorney Jim Lazar said.
Daniel Leon Bizzelle Jr., 21, of Clairton, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to drug offenses and conspiracy for his role in the ring that police said operated in the Greensburg area between Sept. 29, 2011, and March 13, 2012.
Police contend the group sold drugs in parking lots, apartment complexes and other locations.
Bizzelle was sentenced by Judge Debra Pezze to serve four to 23 months in jail and five years on probation.
He was not required to testify against other suspects in exchange for the plea, according to defense attorney Adam Gorzelsky.
Police contend James Stephen Moore, 25, of South Huntingdon, was the ringleader of the operation that moved thousands of bricks of heroin between Allegheny and Westmoreland counties using a series of local people who supplied and sold the drugs, mainly in the Greensburg, Latrobe and Mt. Pleasant areas.
The large number of suspects prompted county court administrators to bring in Senior Judge Paul H. Millin from Warren County to oversee the cases.
During a hearing Wednesday, Millin said Moore and two men who police contend were his top lieutenants, Dominick William Haynes, 26, of McKeesport and Chauncy Lamar Bray, 22, of Greensburg will go to trial in June.
Two defendants are scheduled to be tried in July, Millen said.
Attorneys for the remaining suspects said in court that their clients are expected to plead guilty throughout the next several months.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Land costs for New Stanton turnpike interchange project reach $4.2M
- 2 Hempfield Area students charged with sexting
- Hempfield man dies in single-vehicle accident
- Murrysville woman apologizes for scholarship fund theft
- Police seek public help with East Huntingdon store thefts
- Hempfield bicyclist who brought rock, knives into court office charged
- Greensburg YMCA begins long-awaited porch renovation job
- Donors’ generosity allows Clairview School girls to get fancy for prom
- Jeannette police say 5 people caught trespassing on grounds
- 2 Democrats battle for Hempfield nomination for supervisor
- Seton Hill student tells how Pa. Gov. Wolf’s tax plan will hurt her