Washington man arrested on drug charges by task force

January 31, 2014
Keith Malone

A Washington man awaiting sentencing in federal court on drug charges was arrested late Thursday by members of the Washington County District Attorney’s Drug Task Force after suspected cocaine was found in his home.

Keith “K-Rizz” Dale Malone, 38, of 940 Bruce St., was taken into custody after police found the cocaine while serving a search warrant. Malone is awaiting sentencing in federal court after pleading guilty to a charge of conspiracy to deal drugs last March.

During the fall of 2013 and into January, the task force investigated the illegal distribution of cocaine by Malone. Investigators said they made several controlled buys from him. Rick Gluth, task force director, said they received information that Malone was still dealing.

“We had been getting complaints that he was operating out of his house,” said Washington County District Attorney Eugene Vittone. “It is definitely good to get him off the streets and out of that neighborhood.”

On Wednesday, the task force obtained a sealed search warrant from Judge John DiSalle for Malone’s home and detached garage.

Task force detectives along with Washington and state police executed the search warrant.

Seven individually wrapped packets of suspected cocaine were found in the kitchen along with nine hydrocodone tablets. The hydrocodone was packaged in a knotted, plastic bag and in an unmarked, amber pill bottle. The cocaine field-tested positive with an approximate weight of 7 grams.

Malone is also wanted on a warrant obtained last month by Southwest Regional police on charges of access device fraud, conspiracy and receiving stolen property. He along with Chad Pennington, 48, and Marcie Jo Wilson, 52, both of 142 Oak St., Westland, and Robert Anderson, 59, of 384 1/2 Tyler Ave., Washington, are accused illegally using credit cards.

Black Bear Energy of Union Township reported fraudulent use of company fuel cards that occurred between September and November. After an investigation, it was determined that some of the company’s employees illegally used and encouraged others to use the gas cards to put gasoline in their personal vehicles. Approximately $7,500 was charged to Black Bear Energy.

Wilson and Anderson are slated for preliminary hearing on the charges Feb. 11 before District Judge James Ellis. Pennington will be arraigned Feb. 12, also before Ellis.

Malone had his sentencing in federal court continued until May 15. He was one of several Washington area residents indicted on federal charges in 2012 for conspiring to distribute cocaine.

Malone, whose left leg was amputated following a November 2007 vehicle crash, also pleaded guilty in 2008 to selling crack to a police informant. The judge sentenced him to 9 to 18 months on home electronic monitoring because, at the time, he was still undergoing medical treatment for his injuries. Malone was in a crash on Interstate 70 in West Virginia, several miles from the Pennsylvania state line. He was ejected from the vehicle, which pinned his leg against a brick wall, injuring it so badly that it had to be amputated.

He was arraigned before District Judge Mark Wilson on charges of possession and possession with intent to deliver cocaine and placed in Washington County jail on $500,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is set for Feb. 11 before District Judge Robert Redlinger.

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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