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Valley News Dispatch

Son of Westmoreland County district judge faces more drug charges

Emily Balser
| Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, 5:06 p.m.

The 28-year-old son of a Westmoreland County district judge and prominent local attorney was arrested on felony drug charges for the second time in as many months as part of an ongoing investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office.

State police pulled over a white Mercedes-Benz in which Stephen Yakopec III of Lower Burrell was riding Oct. 2 along Route 28 in East Deer, according to court documents.

Court documents said police found a package containing five bags of marijuana and an OxyContin pill in the passenger seat and Yakopec had 25 OxyContin pills on him.

Police and agents with the Attorney General’s Office had been following the car from a High Street home in Freeport where, court documents said, they watched Yakopec pick up the package containing marijuana and place it in the car’s trunk.

Authorities seized the package from the Freeport Post Office on Sept. 24 after being notified that it matched ones seized in a previous arrest, according to court documents.

Authorities said they found 14 pounds of marijuana in a pickup driven by Yakopec during an Aug. 1 traffic stop in Murrysville and, later, found between 7 and 8 pounds of pot at the Lower Burrell home Yakopec shared with girlfriend Kacy T. Anderson, 29. Yakopec and Anderson are scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Thursday at District Judge Chris Flanigan’s Greensburg office, but visiting Senior District Judge Herbert Mitchell of Fayette County will handle the case.

Flanigan recused herself and a judge was brought in from outside Westmoreland County because Yakopec’s mother, District Judge Cheryl Peck Yakopec, is a district judge in Allegheny Township, according to county Magisterial District Court Administrator Don Heagy.

The package seized during the Oct. 2 traffic stop was addressed to a man at a home on High Street in Freeport, but that man has not been charged, court records show. According to court documents, Yakopec was contacted about picking up the package from a porch at the Freeport home, but they did not say by whom.

A preliminary hearing in the latest case is scheduled for Wednesday at District Judge Carolyn Bengel’s Brackenridge office.

Court records show Yakopec is being represented by Arnold attorney Steve Yakopec Jr., his father. Messages left for Yakopec Jr. and Peck Yakopec were not returned.

According to court documents, the cases involving Yakopec are part of an ongoing investigation of an alleged marijuana distribution operation by the Attorney General’s office that began in March.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, or via Twitter @emilybalser.

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