Three arrested on drug charges; schools briefly locked down

May 6, 2013
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CANONSBURG – Three people were arrested by Canonsburg police on drug charges, prompting a brief lockdown Monday at Canon-McMillan High School in North Strabane Township and South Central Elementary School in Canonsburg.

One of the three arrested, Zaie Escribano, 31, of the Bronx, N.Y., told Canonsburg police Sgt. Al Coghill he is a member of the Blood Money Bosses or BMB, which is reportedly a sect of the notorious Bloods gang.

Also arrested were Keith Anthony Rosario, 23, of Valley View Terrace, Canonsburg, and 21-year-old Paradise Wilson, who told police she is homeless. Coghill said she was not being cooperative with police.

Police had received information Escribano and Rosario would be in the area Monday, Coghill said. A traffic stop was initiated on Boone Avenue in North Strabane, and the two men were taken into custody. Escribano was the driver, and Rosario was a passenger. North Strabane Township police assisted in the arrest.

“We received information that they were significant dealers, handling multiple types of drugs,” Coghill said. “They had been on our radar for about a month.”

Found hidden in an aerosol can with a hidden compartment were two bricks of heroin, Ecstasy pills and cocaine, police said. The estimated street value of all of the drugs is $4,000, Coghill said. Police also confiscated about $2,500.

While the two men were at the Canonsburg police station, police said Wilson appeared and told investigators the drugs belonged to her. She also was taken into custody.

“She said that she sells 15 to 20 bricks of heroin a week,” Coghill said. “Based on selling 20 bricks, that is $15,000 a week or $60,000 a month. She claims that she has been selling here for seven months, so that means she would have brought in $420,000. We believe the money was going back to New York.”

Schools were put on lockdown as a precaution.

“We made sure there was more than adequate protection,” Coghill said. “That is why there may have seemed to be a significant police presence.”

Coghill said a check of Escribano’s background shows a large number of arrests for firearms violations, aggravated assault, gang assault, robbery and bringing dangerous contraband into prison.

Police Chief R.T. Bell said no area is exempt from drug dealers.

“It is happening all around us,” Bell said.

Both Bell and Mayor David Rhome credited the borough’s working relationship with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. A Canonsburg police detective has been assigned to work with the DEA for the last several years. Rhome said the affiliation has only enhanced the department’s work to protect the community.

“The intelligence information that has been received by the department has again paid off,” Rhome said. “People step up and help us clear up our communities.

“Drugs have no boundaries,” Rhome added. “It affects the rich and famous as well as the poor.”

The three were arraigned before District Judge David Mark on charges of possession and possession with intent to deliver drugs and criminal conspiracy. All three are lodged in the Washington County jail on $200,000 bond.

A preliminary hearing will be held May 22 before Mark.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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