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Raid in Mt. Pleasant busts drug operation, police say

| Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Sean Stipp | Trib Total Media
Police found LSD-laced Sweet Tarts in a Mt. Pleasant home.

Police said they have broken up an oxycodone ring operating out of a Mt. Pleasant home, where five people this year acquired about $140,000 worth of the prescription painkillers through 96 forged prescriptions for 8,433 pills from several pharmacies in Westmoreland and Fayette counties.

Police recovered 205 oxycodone pills worth $4,500 plus marijuana, Ecstasy and five LSD-laced Sweet Tart candies from a home they raided along Washington Street about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Greensburg Detective Jerry Vernail said.

Police expect to charge at least five people in connection with possession of the oxycodone and illegally obtaining the painkillers, Vernail said.

The detective said he intends to interview the Mt. Pleasant-area physician whose name was on the forged prescription. The prescription slip appeared to be old because it listed the doctor's number as a 412 area code, rather than the 724 area code that was created in 1998, Vernail said.

Armed with a search warrant from Penn Township District Judge Helen M. Kistler, Vernail conducted the raid with Mt. Pleasant police and its K-9 unit, as well as Westmoreland County Detective Tony Marcocci.

One woman allegedly confessed to forging fewer than 10 prescriptions, Vernail said.

The five LSD-laced Sweet Tarts, inside two small plastic bags, looked like normal candy but appeared slightly stale from being tainted with LSD, Vernail said. The detective said the occupants of the house told Vernail they had bought the LSD-laced candies but would not reveal the supplier.

Vernail said authorities were tipped off to the oxycodone ring by a Med-Fast pharmacist at the Shop 'n Save on East Pittsburgh Street in Greensburg.

A woman, whom Vernail declined to identify, sought to fill a prescription for 120 oxycodone pills. The pharmacist said he was suspicious because of the odd way the woman was acting. The woman recently had tried to buy oxycodone from the Med-Fast pharmacy in the Shop 'n Save store along Route 136 in Hempfield.

Vernail said the physician told him he had not filled the prescription and called police.

The investigation will continue to determine the source of the other oxycodone pills and how the suspects obtained the money to buy them, Vernail said

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or jnapsha@tribweb.com.

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