27 witnesses to testify in Greensburg heroin trafficking case
Testimony started Monday in the trial of two men accused of leading a group of 18 defendants charged with operating a major heroin trafficking ring in Greensburg.
Westmoreland County Assistant District Attorney James Lazor said Dominick Haynes and James Moore were instrumental in the drug ring that operated throughout the city and out of the Hawksworth Apartments in 2011 and 2012.
Police said Moore, 25, of South Huntingdon was the ringleader in an operation that moved thousands of bricks of heroin between Allegheny and Westmoreland counties using a series of local people who sold the drugs, mainly in the Greensburg, Latrobe and Mt. Pleasant areas.
“This was a large-scale heroin trafficking operation, bringing in drugs from New Jersey and marketing to users around here,” Lazor said in an interview Monday morning.
The prosecution charged Moore, Haynes and the 16 other defendants with drug offenses and racketeering.
Moore's co-defendant, Haynes, 26, of McKeesport, was a top lieutenant in the drug operation, police said.
Prosecutors have said they intend to call as many as 27 witnesses in the case, including several informants who were charged in connection with the drug ring.
Several other people who have pleaded guilty could be called to testify, Lazor said.
The large number of suspects prompted county court administrators to bring in Senior Judge Paul H. Millin from Warren County to oversee the trial and all the associated cases.
Millin is expected to preside over another trial for at least two defendants next month.
In court on Monday, Moore's defense lawyer, Michael DeMatt, told jurors there is no evidence that directly points to his client's involvement in the drug organization.
Defense attorney William Gallishen, representing Haynes, said his client did nothing illegal.
“The case relies on testimony of heroin addicts,” Gallishen said.
The trial is expected to last about seven days.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.