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Marijuna, heroin arrests made in Penn Township

| Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014, 10:45 p.m.

A woman was jailed on felony drug charges, and in an unrelated incident, a suspected marijuana grow operation was uncovered in Penn Township, police Chief John Otto said on Tuesday.

Stephanie Kelly, 25, of Penn was charged with possession of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, delivery of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, when police executed a search warrant at her Penn Heights mobile home.

Police seized about 100 bags of heroin with a street value as much as $1,500, along with about $1,500, three handguns, plastic sandwich bags, syringes and scales, Otto said.

He classified the drug operation as “low- to mid-level.”

The investigation is ongoing, Otto said.

“Any time we arrest somebody for using or dealing narcotics, there are other doors to knock on,” he said.

Kelly was arraigned before District Judge Joseph R. DeMarchis and placed in the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $25,000 bail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Tuesday before Harrison City District Judge Helen M. Kistler.

Her arrest followed police officers observing patterns relating to types of calls and car volume in and out of the mobile home park, Otto said.

“We started an investigation,” he said.

Suspicions of drug activity led officers to seek a search warrant, he said.

On Aug. 20, police received a tip about a possible marijuana grow operation at a Harrison City-Export Road residence.

Otto said a nearby construction crew spotted what they believed to be marijuana plants inside the residence and alerted a supervisor.

Police officers went to the same vantage point, obtained a search warrant and knocked on the door, Otto said.

Eight to 10 plants were seized, along with about $200, a Smith & Wesson M&P handgun and grow lights, he said.

“These items will be analyzed by the crime lab, and applicable charges will be filed upon the successful completion of that analysis,” Otto said.

Penn Township, he said, is “not unlike any other community in the county, in the region. We have our issues. That's the bad news.”

“The good news is that we have established priorities, and (prosecution of) the sale and provision of drugs is our highest priority,” Otto said.

Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or mpickels@tribweb.com.

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