Large amount of heroin, other drugs seized in separate raids

July 11, 2013
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Left, Christopher D. Byrd. Right, Jebidia James Keiser.
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Jebidia James Keiser Jr.
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Christopher D. Byrd
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The Washington County District Attorney's Drug Task Force said it seized these bricks of heroin from the home of Christopher Byrd in Donora
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Money seized during a drug raid at the home of Christopher Byrd of Donora

The Washington County district attorney’s office executed search warrants on opposite ends of the county within a span of 16 hours beginning Thursday night and seized a large quantity of heroin and other drugs, making two arrests.

Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone said his drug task force first arrested Christopher D. Byrd, 30, after a search late Thursday of his residence at 1321 Gilmore Ave., Donora, produced 54 bricks of heroin with a street value of $16,000, a loaded 9 mm semiautomatic handgun and $6,400. Byrd was home during the search, the affidavit indicates. The volume of heroin seized is equivalent to 2,700 stamp bags, the record shows.

Byrd, who has a criminal history that includes a drug conviction, is charged with drug possession with intent to deliver, drug possession and a firearms offense prohibiting felons from having guns. He is lodged in the Washington County jail on $200,000 bond.

Friday morning, the task force arrested Jebidia James Keiser Jr., 33, after a search launched at 7:30 a.m. under forced entry of his residence at 564 North Kings Creek Road in Hanover Township produced 27 live marijuana plants, oxycodone and hyrocodone pills and a .45-caliber handgun, Vittone said.

Once inside, detectives asked the suspect’s mother, Kathy Keiser, to contact him and have him return to the home, the affidavit indicated. He allegedly confessed to growing the marijuana and smoking crack to a detective in a garage where some of the items were found, the record shows.

While searching his bedroom, detectives said they found 13 razor blades containing a white powder, three plastic bags containing white powder, 27 pipes for smoking marijuana and three crack pipes, according to the affidavit.

The raid followed an undercover sting in June in which the task force alleges it used a confidential informant to purchase an unspecified amount of cocaine from Keiser in a buy arranged over his cellphone.

Keiser is charged with marijuana possession with intent to deliver, drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal use of a communication facility. District Judge Valarie Costanzo remanded him to the jail on $40,000 bond.

“This demonstrates the professionalism and the resolve of these police detectives with the drug task force to fight dangerous drugs everywhere they are located within Washington County,” Vittone said in a news release. “I am very proud of law enforcement today.”

While carrying out the Donora raid, the task force had assistance from officers with the Charleroi Regional and Carroll and East Bethlehem townships police departments, as well as representatives from the Washington County sheriff’s office. Hanover police assisted in making the other bust.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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