Cocaine seized in Penn Hills worth $10.5 million on the streets, police say

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Police seized cocaine worth $10.5 million on the street and arrested three men Tuesday in a bust officials are calling the largest in terms of monetary value in recent memory.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said there could be more charges coming and that authorities are executing two more search warrants in an effort that began last week in Monroeville and involved several police departments in the eastern part of the county.

One of those search warrants today yielded four more kilos of cocaine, bringing the total seized in the bust to 21.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Pittsburgh field office is now assisting in the investigation. Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gary Davis said "the majority of cocaine in this area does come from the Mexican border," though it's not yet clear where exactly the batch seized Tuesday is from.

"Obviously, this is not a matter that is going to begin or end at the borders of Pennsylvania," Mr. Zappala said.

About 1 p.m. Tuesday, police followed a man from the Days Inn hotel on Mosside Boulevard in Monroeville to the home of William Wilson in Penn Hills, Mr. Zappala said.

The man gave authorities a false name -- David Chavez Carbajal -- but U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said he is Faustino Hernandez Rodriguez of Mexico, Mr. Zappala said.

A search of Mr. Wilson's home on Pinewood Square yielded a stolen gun, more than $100,000 in cash and four kilos of cocaine, authorities said.

Police also searched a vehicle parked near the home that belongs to Leland Cobb of Homewood, who was observed leaving Mr. Wilson's home carrying a large bag. That search netted another 13 kilos of cocaine, Mr. Zappala said. The four additional kilos were found in Mr. Wilson's vehicle.

A secret compartment found in the vehicle Mr. Rodriguez was driving contained more than $500,000 in cash, police said.

That money, Mr. Zappala said, will be distributed to county and local law enforcement to fight drug crimes.

The bust stemmed from a meeting last week between Mr. Zappala and local law enforcement officials, including Monroeville police, who noticed an uptick in drug activity at the Days Inn.

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Molly Born: or 412-263-1944. First Published April 24, 2013 6:45 PM


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