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3 Allegheny County men accused in Mt. Pleasant Borough drug bust

Renatta Signorini
| Monday, March 12, 2018, 12:45 p.m.

Three Allegheny County men remained in custody Monday after their weekend arrests following a monthlong drug investigation by Mt. Pleasant Borough police.

John Anthony Saban Jr., 25, of Garfield; Devon Joseph Mitchell, 22, of Turtle Creek; and James William Clarke, 25, of East Hills are accused of numerous drug violations in connection with a Friday police raid at a Pleasant Acres apartment.

Officer Nathan Ellwood wrote in criminal complaints against the men that he pulled over a car for a violation at 8 p.m. Friday while “conducting a drug investigation in a known drug area” along Sand Hill Road. The driver appeared nervous, police said, and directed officers to an apartment nearby on Pleasant Acres Way when he was questioned about an odor of marijuana in the car.

Mt. Pleasant's police dog, Gerro, tracked the suspects from that initial apartment to another unit, police said. Inside, they found Saban, Clarke and Mitchell, along with three females, none of whom was charged.

Investigators seized about $7,000 and 84 grams of marijuana. Police said there was evidence of heroin and crack cocaine packaging, including plastic bags, baking soda and spoons and forks inside the apartments.

On Saturday, police searched outside the apartment and recovered a trash bag with 30 bricks of heroin, four bags of cocaine and three stolen handguns.

Saban, Clarke and Mitchell are charged with possession with intent to deliver, drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. They are all being held in Westmoreland County Prison on $100,000 bond. None had an attorney listed in online court records.

Preliminary hearings are set for Thursday.

A Fayette County jury in 2016 convicted Saban of making terroristic threats against a Connellsville couple during a robbery a year earlier in which $1,100 in cash and two cellphones were taken. He was sentenced to serve one to two years in jail.

Mitchell is serving seven years of probation in two separate Allegheny County cases on burglary and related offenses, according to online court records.

Clarke was sentenced to three years of probation in 2014 on a drug violation in Allegheny County. He was sentenced to one year of probation in January after pleading guilty to giving Mt. Pleasant Borough police false identification.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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