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Alleged head of massive drug ring ordered held without bail

A South Side man accused of heading a drug ring that regularly brought in truckloads of cocaine and other drugs from January 2011 until this September pleaded not guilty on Thursday to a drug conspiracy charge.

Luis M. “Weezy” Carde, 41, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Maureen Kelly, who ordered him held without bail.

Other than answering the judge’s questions, Carde didn’t speak. His attorney, Marvin Miller, declined comment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Haller said Carde should be kept in jail because he’s a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Carde’s organization bought 30 to 100 kilograms of cocaine and other drugs at a time from Mexican suppliers who delivered the drugs by tractor-trailers to a Carnegie warehouse, according to an affidavit by Hanjong Louis To, a special agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Several members would then distribute the drugs to “stash houses” around Allegheny County using cars, mostly Acuras, with hidden compartments, the affidavit says.

Carde was planning to buy a larger warehouse and put fictitious construction company decals on the vehicles to make the activity around the warehouse look less suspicious, the affidavit says.

Using confidential informants and wiretaps, federal agents and local police began tracking the ring’s activities after they received a tip in March, the affidavit says.

A federal grand jury indicted Carde and 10 other defendants in September on a single count of conspiring to sell at least 5 kilograms of cocaine, at least 500 grams of meth and at least 1 kilogram of heroin.

Carde was in the Allegheny County Jail on unrelated state charges from a July 27 “multiple stabbing,” according to the affidavit.

Identified as Carde Frieria in state court records, Carde was at Levelz Sports Lounge on East Carson Street when an employee told him he couldn’t smoke in the bar, according to police. Carde stabbed the employee in the stomach, police said.

Another person was stabbed in the hand when he tried to break up the fight, police said.

Carde is being held in lieu of a $1 million bond on the state charges. Two of the Mexican suppliers, Orlando “Sandro” Hernandez, 39, and Edred “Flaco” Melendez, 39, were arrested in Florida and are being held in the Seminole County Jail.

The third supplier who kept an eye on the Pittsburgh operation was Angel “Tio” Rodriguez, 50, who lived in McKees Rocks and Mt. Washington before moving to Cleveland, the affidavit says. He is being held in the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center, prosecutors said.

The other defendants include: Jason Beggarly, 36, of McKees Rocks; T. Nolan Hardeman, 31, of Homewood; Nakei Norman “Storm” Jackson, 37, of Wilkins; Lamar Miles, 36, of Penn Hills; Rhionna Rhodes, 33, of North Braddock; Robert Rios, 25, of Cleveland; and Justin Silvio, 36, whose last known address was Verona.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or [email protected].


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