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Heroin overdose leads to Leechburg drug bust

Chuck Biedka
| Sunday, July 18, 2010

Drug dealers were using a child's room in a house in the borough to cut and hide cocaine and heroin, police alleged Saturday.

Police were led to the operation by calls to help a 22-year-old man who was unconscious just outside the house along Evergreen Road Friday evening.

Police soon found out he had overdosed on heroin.

After helping the man and getting a search warrant, police and the Armstrong County District Attorney's drug officers arrested a Penn Hills man and six others and confiscated about $20,000 worth of cocaine and heroin, drug paraphernalia, almost $1,000 in cash and some marijuana.

Police Chief Mike Diebold said drugs and paraphernalia were found inside a dresser and a small refrigerator in a room that had clothing and belongings of two children. Their mother, Lisa Kochmanski, 33, 423 Evergreen Road, is facing drug, child endangerment and reckless endangerment charges.

Also facing drug charges are:

• Bates Gay, 24, 409 Hulton Road, Penn Hills

• Amanda Lynn Pudder, 22, of 20 Aloha Drive, Plum

• Robert James Yakovich Jr., 29, of Mutton Hollow Road, Rural Valley

• Joshua Mathias Fox, 24, 1629 Main St., West Leechburg

• Amanda Jo Busch, 24, of 253 Larimer Trail, Washington Township

• Matthew Ryan Crooks, 1586 Airport Road, Vandergrift

Armstrong County Detective Franklin "Butch" Roofner said six of the seven suspects were arraigned on drug possession and sent to the Armstrong County Jail in lieu of bond pending preliminary hearings. Most of the bonds were set at $25,000. Kochmanski was held in lieu of $15,000 bond.

Police said they are mailing a charge to Busch.

On Saturday, the unconscious man, identified as Charles George, remained hospitalized for a heroin overdose, Diebold said.

Diebold and another officer found George lying along a car parked near 423 Evergreen Road — the last house in the borough — at about 6 p.m. Friday. He was unconscious and having trouble breathing.

When medics arrived, they found a syringe on George. The man's friend, Crooks, said they had just been at the house where they bought a bundle of 10 stamped bags of heroin for $120, then "shot up" several bags while Busch was given a stamp bag to snort.

Diebold said he obtained a search warrant and entered the house.

Police found Gay, Yakovich and Fox in the children's bedroom "running around and hiding objects." Officers found the drugs and items to wrap it in for individual use, as well as some marijuana, blunts, a digital scale and other items.

Gay had a large amount of cocaine as well as more than $850 on him, police said.

Police said the room was used by Kochmanski's two young children.

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