Cops: Couple attempted to smuggle drugs into Westmoreland Prison inside greeting card
An Armstrong County woman was arrested last week for attempting to smuggle prescription painkillers inside a greeting card she mailed to her boyfriend, who was being held in the Westmoreland County Prison.
Erica M. Vucho, 31, of Apollo, was arraigned on a felony conspiracy charge for illegally sending contraband to an inmate and two counts of possession of controlled substances filed by county Det. James Williams before Hempfield District Judge Mark Mansour.
Her boyfriend, Andrew M. Libitzer, 32, is an inmate at SCI Chester but was being held in the Hempfield jail in June 2018 on charges related to a theft and receiving stolen property filed by Vandergrift police when the smuggling incident occurred, Williams reported. Libitzer also was charged in the scheme but has not been arraigned.
Williams reported in court documents that jail officer Elise McCloy was examining mail delivered to the lockup on June 16, 2018, when she discovered multiple strips inside a greeting card mailed to Libitzer.
Prison Lt. Brad Tomasello later retrieved and listened to recordings of multiple phone calls between Libitzer and Vucho conspiring to deliver to the prison “a large amount” of buprenorphine, a prescription painkiller that can be used to treat opioid addiction.
“Lt. Tomasello heard that Vucho was told to use a fake name on the card she mailed because she was an ex-inmate and not permitted to correspond with inmates at the jail,” Williams wrote.
Vucho used the name Amber Libitzer on the card, which contained 14 strips of buprenorphine, Williams reported. A state police laboratory confirmed the presence of the drug.
Vucho, who has also lived in Lower Burrell, was released on $20,000 unsecured bond.
Libitzer is serving a state prison sentence of up to 23 months on the Vandergrift case.
Vucho could not be reached for comment. An attorney is not listed in court documents.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled Nov. 8 before Mansour.
Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter .