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Police say teen made heroin deals from home

| Friday, Feb. 28, 2003

Police said Thursday that they have charged a teenager who they said was selling heroin out of the home where he lives with his father in an affluent suburban neighborhood.

Franklin Park police Chief Donald Dorsch said police seized 113 stamp bags of heroin, $1,820 in cash and drug paraphernalia, such as syringes and pipes.

The heroin has a street value of as much as $3,390, said Mike Manko, a spokesman for the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office.

The 17-year-old boy, whose name is not being release because he is being charged as a juvenile, is being held at the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center, Dorsch said. He is charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Dorsch said the arrest was made at 2:52 p.m. Wednesday, after the suspect returned home on a school bus. He said the young man was suspended from the North Allegheny School District last year for drug possession.

The suspect has been attending Wesley Academy, an alternative school, Dorsch said.

He said Franklin Park police and the District Attorney's Narcotics Enforcement Team monitored the suspect for about two months after receiving a tip from another police department.

Dorsch said police observed several suspected drug sales at the home on Green View Court, where the assessed value of each home exceeds $200,000.

Dorsch said heroin abuse is a growing problem for communities throughout the North Hills and in nearby Butler County.

"It's a problem," he said. "It's there and it's been there for the last two years, and it's just increasing."

Dorsch said Franklin Park police have not made any other major heroin arrests recently, but they have noticed an increase in crimes they suspect are linked to drug addiction.

"We've had kids steal from parents. We've had an increase in car thefts," Dorsch said. "We know and we feel for sure they (the perpetrators) are addicted to heroin."

Manko said investigators now will try to identify the supplier.

He said the District Attorney's Narcotics Enforcement Team tries to get beyond individual dealers and make inroads into the larger distribution system.

"District Attorney (Stephen) Zappala is well aware, as are police chiefs throughout Allegheny County, as are school administration officials throughout Allegheny County, that the trafficking and use of heroin is the most serious drug problem this county faces right now," Manko said.

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