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Ex-Greensburg Salem worker guilty in cocaine ring

| Friday, Aug. 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
(Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review)
David Greece of Unity Township is escorted from District Judge Michael Mahady's office in Unity on Monday, February 14, 2011.

A former maintenance employee at Greensburg Salem High School was convicted on Thursday of operating a major cocaine trafficking ring throughout Westmoreland County.

Following a brief nonjury trial, David Greece was found guilty of eight charges of drug trafficking and conspiracy.

Greece, 56, of Unity was then immediately sentenced by Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway to serve five to 10 years in prison.

“It was a high-level cocaine trafficking network. He was moving substantial quantities of cocaine,” Assistant District Attorney Jim Lazar said. “The resolution of this resulted in David Greece going to jail, which is the consequence of operating a drug business in Westmoreland County.”

No testimony was given during the trial as Greece, through defense attorney Paul Boas, didn't challenge the evidence that would have been presented by the prosecution. Greece offered no defense witnesses.

Boas told the judge that the defense disputed the charges and would appeal the conviction.

Boas declined to discuss Greece's case after the trial.

“It was a strategy,” Boas said.

Lazar told the judge that the prosecution's evidence would have included testimony from Greece's wife, Paula, and a woman who rented property from the Greeces.

Paula Greece, 56, of Unity, who was charged with drug offenses for her role in the operation, would have testified that cocaine, guns and $16,000 found by police in her car belonged to her husband, Lazar said.

The prosecutor said Patricia Tuscano, 35, of Unity told police that the 1,170 grams of cocaine police found on Jan. 27, 2011, at the home she rented from Greece was purchased for him.

“She said that for the 10 months prior, she would purchase cocaine on David Greece's behalf with David Greece's money,” Lazar said.

The prosecution contended police found 35 guns in Tuscano's home that she said belonged to Greece.

Lazar told the judge that police found more than $115,000 in cash at the Mt. Pleasant home of Greece's daughter. The money belonged to David Greece, Lazar said.

Both Paula Greece and Tuscano face criminal charges but are expected to receive plea bargains as a result of their cooperation with prosecutors, according to Lazar.

About 50 family members and friends gathered in the courtroom to support Greece. The Rev. Henry Taliercio, pastor at the Word of Life Ministries in Hempfield, testified that Greece has turned his life around and that since his arrest, he has worked to help others beat drug addictions.

“His life has been truly transformed,” Taliercio told the judge.

Boas pleaded for leniency from Hathaway, who imposed the mandatory minimum sentence in the case.

“He's a well-loved man. This is an example of a good man who's done a bad thing, not a bad man,” Boas said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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