What started out as a routine bench warrant arrest this week turned into a drug bust.
Police serving an arrest warrant on a Ligonier Township man Tuesday for failing to appear for hearings on charges of retail theft allegedly discovered an unspecified amount of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia and a stolen rifle at the man’s home.
Ligonier Valley police, assisted by Latrobe officers, arrived at Justin Mattucci’s house along the 1400 block of Darlington Road about 2 p.m. Police say they discovered Mattucci, 37, and an unidentified man in woods behind the house.
Ligonier Valley Officer Jonathan Murphy said the two men surrendered and Mattucci consented to a search of the house and property.
Latrobe officer Robert Derk and his police dog searched the house and surrounding woods and discovered a plastic container containing suspected methamphetamine in the woods. Murphy said police confiscated more suspected methamphetamine found inside the home, next to a digital scale.
Police also confiscated additional items inside the house used for packaging drugs, Murphy said in court documents. Murphy said a rifle that was reported stolen was among three firearms police confiscated inside the house.
The man discovered with Mattucci, who was not identified, was not charged.
Westmoreland County Judge Timothy Krieger issued a bench warrant for Mattucci after he failed to appear for multiple retail theft hearings involving 2018 thefts at the Walmart in Unity.
Mattucci was arraigned before District Judge Mark Bilik on charges of possession, manufacturing and delivery of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and receiving stolen property. Bilik ordered Mattucci held in the county jail after he failed to post $20,000 bond.
An attorney for Mattucci was not listed in court dockets.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 18 before Ligonier District Judge Denise Thiel.