CANONSBURG – There was no big bust, no roundup of suspects. But over the last four months, Canonsburg police have been targeting drug dealers who are selling anything from heroin to marijuana and narcotics on borough streets.
Thirteen suspected dealers were arrested by police with warrants out on two others as part of a concerted effort by the department.
“In August, we started exerting energy to get suspected dealers off the street,” said police Detective Sgt. Al Coghill. “We ran a three-month investigation and started to get arrest warrants.”
Coghill said the alleged dealers are not selling any drug in particular, although police have been finding mostly heroin and marijuana. Drugs were purchased by confidential informants and through undercover buys.
Mayor David Rhome noted information developed by police was often received during their regular patrols.
Police Chief R.T. Bell credits the ongoing relationship with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. One borough police officer is currently assigned to work with the DEA.
“This has opened up some avenues and more resources for us to do some of this ourselves and conduct more investigations,” Bell said.
Coghill said many of the officers in the department have received training in drug investigations through the Washington County District Attorney’s Drug Task Force.
“People forget that much of the drug dealing affects them,” Coghill said. “People on drugs are the ones breaking into houses and vehicles. Ninety percent of our crimes, like thefts and criminal mischief, are drug-related. People are victims of the addictions of others.”
Rhome said the department has been able to put more manpower on the streets by hiring three part-time officers. Bell said that has enabled them to broaden their drug enforcement effort.
Arrested so far were Jeanna Main, Derek Andrews, Justin Miller, Martin Johnson, Stanley Golick, Christina Gregorczyk, Sal Conte, Eric Chronister, George Reule and Joshua Butts, all of Canonsburg; Leann Sachek of Richeyville; Charles Parks of Washington and William Fields of Pittsburgh.
Coghill said the enforcement effort will continue.