12 alleged dealers swept up in Armstrong sweep
MANOR TOWNSHIP: Eighteen people were the target of an early-morning drug sweep Friday by the District Attorney’s Armstrong County Narcotics Enforcement Team.
The raids began at 6 a.m. By noon, authorities had 12 people in custody with six warrants out on charges including possession, possession with intent to deliver and related charges. Those arrested were taken before District Justice J. Gary DeComo, who set up shop for the morning at the National Guard Armory here.
Drugs involved included marijuana, cocaine and heroin, according to District Attorney Scott Andreassi.
The sweep had been planned for about eight months and based on informants and surveillance, Andreassi said.
All but one of the suspects were from Armstrong County. Arrests were made in Ford City, Kittanning and Cadogan, in Buffalo Township, Butler County, and in Indiana County, according to Andreassi.
The drug suspects are street level or mid-level dealers, he said, and important players in the local drug scene..
“They’re a loosely knit group,” Andreassi said. “They all knew each other, communicated with each other and that’s how we got from one person to another person.”
There was no indication drugs were being manufactured in the county, according to Andreassi. The drugs were primarily coming from the New Kensington and Pittsburgh corridors, he said.
Andreassi said the suspected drug dealers were awakened from their sleep.
“There was no resistance,” Andreassi said. “Everything went by the book, safely and quickly. It couldn’t have gone any better.”
Control and operation of the Armstrong County Narcotics Enforcement Team, originally operated by the state Attorney General’s Office, was assumed by the Armstrong County District Attorney’s office in May.
This was the first major drug sweep for that team.
Participating in the raid were officers from the District Attorney’s office, the county sheriff’s office, state police, Kittanning, Ford City, Freeport and Worthington borough and Parks, Kiski and East Franklin townships.
“When we assumed control of the Task Force we made a commitment to impact drug activity at the local level,” Andreassi said. “Today’s raids are the first step of many in keeping that commitment.