New Castle News

DailyRecord

June 14, 2013

Police arrest 15 in drug roundup

NEW CASTLE — Police in Lawrence County arrested 15 people Thursday as part of an ongoing sweep of accused drug dealers.

Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa said the detail, dubbed “Operation Spring Cleaning,” began around 10 a.m. It was the first detail of an extended countywide operation targeting low-level narcotics dealers who allegedly have sold drugs to either undercover officers or confidential informants.

“We have about 34 warrants for these individuals’ arrests,” Lamancusa said.

Of those, 19 warrants were served Thursday — four for one person.

The city of New Castle was the focus Thursday.

Departments participating as members of the district attorney’s drug task force are New Castle Police Department’s street crimes, narcotics and canine units, district attorney detectives, county domestic relations and juvenile probation, state parole and the police departments of Neshannock, Shenango and Union townships and New Wilmington Borough.

Members of those units were grouped into teams of four and given packets of information and criminal complaints on the wanted suspects, along with pictures of them, Lamancusa said.

He noted some of the alleged offenders are wanted on bench warrants.

“This is going to go on for awhile.”

The officers searched the home of Mark Ortiz, 28, who was with Travis Morris, 29. Both face drug-related charges. Addresses for the two were unavailable Thursday.

They each are charged with manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver, possession and criminal use of a communication facility.

They were arraigned by District Judge David B. Rishel and lodged in the Lawrence County jail on $25,000 bond each.

Lamancusa said the police seized about 2 grams of heroin, which the two had tried to flush down the toilet at Ortiz’s house.

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