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At plea hearing, Unity woman says loyalty led to drug trade

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Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
 

A Unity woman on Friday said her involvement in a major cocaine trafficking ring that operated in Westmoreland County was a result of misplaced loyalty to a surrogate parent.

“David and Paula (Greece) took me in and provided for me,” Patricia Tuscano said after she pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge. “I was forever grateful, and I felt obligated to do it, not forced to do what I was asked to do. It was hard for me to tell them no.”

Police said Tuscano, 35, helped store thousands of dollars of drugs for David Greece, a Greensburg Salem High School maintenance supervisor. Investigators claimed Greece and his wife, Paula, operated the drug network until their arrest in early 2011.

Investigators found more than 1,160 grams of cocaine in Tuscano's home, which she rented from David Greece.

She testified against Greece at a pretrial hearing and was expected to be a key prosecution witness at his nonjury earlier this year.

“It was not hard to testify. They basically abandoned me. I never got as much as an apology from him,” Tuscano said on Friday.

Tuscano said the Greeces had cared for her since she was 13 and she felt indebted to them and as a result was unable to walk away from the drug activity.

David Greece, 56, of Unity was convicted of eight drug and conspiracy charges in a brief trial before Westmoreland County Judge Rita Hathaway in August. No witnesses testified at the trial, as Greece declined to challenge any of the prosecution's evidence.

Hathaway sentenced Greece to serve five to 10 years in prison.

Tuscano pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of conspiracy and was sentenced by Hathaway to serve three years of probation as well as two years on house arrest with electronic monitoring.

Her ankle bracelet for the monitoring was removed on Friday as Tuscano served more than two years of house arrest while she awaited the disposition of her case.

Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Calisti said prosecutors agreed to a sentence for Tuscano that fell below standard sentencing guidelines because of her agreement to testify against Greece.

Drug and conspiracy charges are pending against Paula Greece, although she is expected to plead guilty to lesser charges for helping the prosecution's case against her husband.

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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