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Alleged Greensburg heroin dealer gets lecture, has bond tripled

| Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, 11:42 p.m.

A bid by an alleged heroin dealer to have his bond reduced backfired Thursday when District Judge James Albert tripled it to $75,000 and gave him a lecture to boot.

Albert listened to 45 minutes of testimony from two Westmoreland County Drug Task Force members who said they witnessed Travis Brown, 27, of Greensburg, sell nearly two bricks of heroin to confidential informants in Greensburg and South Greensburg in 2012.

After hearing the testimony, Albert ruled there was sufficient evidence for Brown to stand trial on seven counts of manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance, plus two counts of illegal possession of a controlled substance.

Brown's attorney, Deborah Jackson of the public defender's office, then told Albert that her client wanted his bond reduced from $25,000, noting that he lives in Greensburg and is not a flight risk.

Assistant District Attorney Leo Ciaramitaro objected, pointing out the amount of the heroin Brown allegedly sold — about 100 stamp bags.

“If anything, I think the amount of Mr. Brown's bond should be increased by a few thousand,” Ciaramitaro said.

Albert did that — and then some.

“I consider heroin a detriment to our society. I'm going to increase it to $75,000,” Albert said. “And let this serve notice to anyone in the area dealing heroin who comes before me that I consider heroin a detriment to society and they will have a high bond.”

Mt. Pleasant Assistant Police Chief Dan Zilli and Southwest Greensburg Police Sgt. Todd Brant testified that a confidential informant purchased various amounts of heroin amounting to nearly 100 bags. The alleged buys were made on Sept. 15, 2012, in South Greensburg; Sept. 26, 2012, near Smith's house on South Main Street; and Oct. 15 in the parking lot of Dino's Sports Lounge in Greensburg.

Brown failed to post $75,000 bail and was remanded to the county jail to await trial.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or ppeirce@tribweb.com.

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