Crucible couple charged in drug investigation

April 25, 2013
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Cumberland Township Police officers seized suspected heroin stamp bags, money, snorting straws and rubber bands from a Crucible residence Tuesday.
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Melinda Lee Puckett

CARMICHAELS – Cumberland Township police officers found more than 200 stamp bags of suspected heroin Tuesday while assisting Greene County Children and Youth Services at a Crucible residence.

Police Chief Craig Miller said he received an anonymous tip about illegal drug activity at 101 B Crucible Road. Miller said CYS had an open investigation involving the residents, Melinda Lee Puckett, 23, and Jeffrey Christopher Speer, 22.

Both have been charged with one count each of possession with intent to deliver or manufacture, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, endangering the welfare of children and criminal conspiracy for possession with intent to deliver drugs.

Miller was present when a CYS caseworker knocked on the door. Puckett permitted the caseworker and police officers to enter the residence to speak to her, according to Miller. The caseworker told Puckett they were there to follow up for drug-related reasons.

Miller then asked for permission to bring his K-9 dog, Artis, into the residence. Puckett reportedly agreed. While Miller was retrieving Artis from his patrol car, police said, Puckett surrendered three heroin stamp bags to an officer.

Miller re-entered the residence and spoke with Puckett, who then rescinded permission for a search. Puckett was taken into custody while a search warrant was obtained. According to Miller, while they waited for the warrant, Puckett told him she had additional heroin on her person and removed seven stamp bags from her bra.

After receiving the search warrant, officers reportedly located 197 empty stamp bags, 63 stamp bags containing suspected heroin, snorting straws, rubber bands, scotch tape and $162.

Police said heroin stamp bags, some containing residue, were located inside an infant child’s bassinet, a diaper bag, next to baby bottles in a rear bedroom, inside a box of crayons, on the floor of the child’s bedroom and in a room shared by Puckett and Speer.

Miller said multiple bags were also located under couch cushions, on the couch and in other locations that were easily accessible to the infant child and Puckett’s 3-year-old stepchild, who was not in the residence at the time of the search.

The infant was taken into the custody of CYS. Puckett was arrested and was arraigned Wednesday before District Judge Glenn Bates in Waynesburg. She was being held in the Greene County jail on $20,000 straight cash bond. A preliminary hearing before Bates is scheduled for 3 p.m. May 2.

Charges against Speer were to be filed Thursday before District Judge Lee Watson.

Tara Kinsell started her career in journalism with the National Geographic Insider Magazine and the Gaithersburg Gazette Newspaper in Montgomery County, Md. Tara has written and photographed sports, features and news stories for the Herald Standard, Greene County Messenger and Albert Gallatin Weekly. She holds degrees in journalism and graphic design from Waynesburg College, now Waynesburg University, and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, respectively.

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