Attorney General’s agents coordinate with 18 police departments on operations to get drug dealers off the streets
PITTSBURGH, PA (April 27, 2017) — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced criminal charges in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties against 33 people for dealing heroin and other drugs on the streets of southwest Pennsylvania communities.
The attorney general announced the charges after agents with the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation coordinated with police from 18 local departments in a series of operations today to round up and charge the drug-dealing suspects.
“Our coordination with local law enforcement was critical to our success this morning in charging 33 people with dealing heroin and other drugs in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties,” Attorney General Shapiro said at a midmorning news conference in Pittsburgh. “I’ve said all along we’ll be merciless with the people peddling this poison in our communities.”
In one of the coordinated operations, Attorney General agents and local police charged 22 people with various drug offenses in and around Sharpsburg Borough in Allegheny County. In another, unrelated operation, OAG agents and local police charged an additional 11 people with drug dealing in communities in and around New Kensington and other towns in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties. In most of the cases the suspects are charged with dealing heroin. Some also face charge of selling crack cocaine.
Attorney General agents and local police also executed drug-related search warrants this morning at residences in New Kensington and Pittsburgh.
Apart from today’s charges, the Office of Attorney General has made 317 drug-related arrests so far this year across Pennsylvania. The large majority of those arrests were for drug dealing, and many of those charged were for heroin. Agents are working closely with local, state and federal authorities throughout the Commonwealth.
“Our collaboration with local, state and federal law enforcement is making an impact as we take on the heroin and opioid epidemic across the Commonwealth,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “We have a lot more work to do, but cooperation with other agencies is helping us do our core job better – focusing on the public safety of all Pennsylvanians.”
The joint efforts are part of a multi-pronged approach instituted by Attorney General Shapiro since he took office in January to target drug dealing wherever it takes place – on street corners, in doctors’ offices or even in corporate board rooms.
Attorney General’s agents have arrested 6 doctors and 17 nurses this year for drug offenses, including illegally dispensing prescription drugs and in a recent case in Westmoreland County, with drug delivery resulting in death.
“Whether you’re selling heroin on a street corner or illegally dispensing opioids and prescription drugs from doctors’ offices, we’re going to investigate and arrest you and do whatever it takes to get this poison out of our communities,” Shapiro said.
Below is additional information on the investigations that led to the charges announced today:
Investigations in Sharpsburg area
22 people were charged in Allegheny County following investigations conducted by the Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation and Sharpsburg, O’Hara and Reserve police.
The investigations, which began in October 2016, primarily focused on individuals distributing heroin and crack cocaine. The suspects are street- to mid-level dealers.
The investigations consisted of approximately 36 controlled-purchases of drugs by law enforcement agents and others. More arrests are anticipated as the investigations continue.
Assisting the Attorney General’s office in today’s arrests were police officers from Sharpsburg Borough, Reserve Township, O’Hara Township, South Strabane Township, Ross Township, Stowe Township and McKees Rocks Borough. Allegheny County police SWAT and Allegheny County Probation participated as well.
Investigations in New Kensington and other areas of Allegheny County
An additional 11 people were charged in Westmoreland County and Allegheny County today with similar drug offenses following investigations by the Bureau of Narcotics Investigation and local police.
Local departments involved in these investigations include: Clairton, Castle Shannon, North Versailles, Brentwood, Wilkinsburg, West Mifflin New Kensington, Harrison Township, Plum Borough and Penn Hills.
Individuals who have witnessed a drug deal in their neighborhood or suspect drug activity can send an anonymous tip to the Office of Attorney General by texting PADRUGS + YOUR TIP to 847411. Tips may also be submitted electronically here .
Below is a list of people charged today. The defendants are all charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance or delivery of a controlled substance.
- Joshua Alcorn, 30, of the 200 block of 13th St., Sharpsburg
- Samuel Anderson, 46, of the 1100 block of Wood St., Pittsburgh
- Craig Banks, 46, of the 200 block of 15th St., Sharpsburg
- Charles Baurle, 52, of the 3800 block of Mt. Troy Road, Reserve Township
- Erik Beverly, 23, of the 400 block of Venture St., Pittsburgh
- Jessica Brown, 36, of the 500 block of Stanton Ave., Millvale
- Jason Butler, 31, of the 5300 block of Cornwall St., Pittsburgh
- Renardo L. Blanding, 28, of the 800 block of Cottonwood Drive, Monroeville
- Mellisa M. Bodick, 36, of the 200 block of Auburn Street, Penn Hills
- Jeffrey R. Coates, 33, of the 100 block of Unity Center Road, Plum
- Justin Claybourne, 27, of the 200 block of Cliffton Ave., Sharpsburg
- Anthony Cobb, 56, of the 1900 block of Main St., Sharpsburg
- Bryan J. Ford, 36, of the 700 block of Hill Avenue, Plum
- Cordero A. Hogan , 30, of the 400 block of Highland Avenue, Pitcairn
- Bernard Jackson, 39, of the 1400 block of Sloan Ave., Wilkinsburg
- Damon Jackson, 40, of the 100 block of 19th St., Sharpsburg
- Patrick Lucky, 43, of the 900 block of Main St., Sharpsburg
- Charlotte McGivern, 23, of the 200 block of 13th St., Sharpsburg
- Michelle Oatman, 38, of the 1300 block of Louise St., Homestead
- James Smith, 59, of the 300 block of 11th St., Sharpsburg
- Braden Stone, 49, of the 3800 block of Center Ave., Allison Park
- Jennifer Thein, 35, of the 300 block of Hoffman Road, Reserve Township
- Randall Vrabel, 31, of the 500 block of 4th Street, Pitcairn
- Emanuel Wade, 39, of the 200 block of S. St. Claire St., Pittsburgh
- Samantha Wails, 24, of the first block of 3rd St., Sharpsburg
- Tyrell Walker, 20, of the 200 block of Mayflower St., Pittsburgh
- Brandon M. Zaborowski, 24, of the first block of Maplewood St., Etna,
- Victor Zilinek, 33, of the 400 block of N. Beatty St., Pittsburgh
- James D. Pinkston, 26, of the 1700 block of Kenneth Ave., Arnold
- Alexis S. Fiscus, 20, of the first block of S. 5th Ave., Clarion
- Robert L. Hartzell, 36, of the first block of S. 5th Ave., Clarion
- Joshua J. Porowski, 40, of the 200 block of Kentucky Drive, Lower Burrell
- Damon Reynolds, 25, of the 200 block of Fleet St., Braddock