heroin

heroin

A driver’s traffic violation Friday on the westbound Pennsylvania Turnpike netted one of the largest heroin busts in Westmoreland County’s history, authorities said.

When state police stopped a GMC Tahoe driven by Candice L. Alexander, 28, of Penn Hills, troopers found 2,000 bricks of heroin — the equivalent of 100,000 stamp bags — in a hidden compartment, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Alexander was arraigned on drug possession charges Friday morning and jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail.

That amount of heroin has a street value of $1 million, said county Detective Tony Marcocci, who has decades of experience in drug investigations. He is not involved in the case.

Alexander was driving the sport utility vehicle along the turnpike in Mt. Pleasant Township near mile marker 81, according to Trooper Justin Coda, who was traveling behind her. Alexander “made an abrupt and unsafe lane change,” which caused a truck driver to hit the brakes, Coda wrote in the affidavit.

He initiated a traffic stop, and Alexander gave consent for troopers to search the vehicle.

“During the search, I discovered a hidden compartment built under the third-row seat,” Coda said.

Troopers found the bricks of heroin inside, he said.

That amount of heroin likely would fill two large storage totes, Marcocci said. “The state police did a fabulous job on that,” he said.

Drug traffickers frequently use corridors through Westmoreland County heading west, he said.

Alexander is being held in the Westmoreland County Prison on charges of possession with intent to deliver and drug possession. She did not have an attorney listed in online court records.

A preliminary hearing before District Judge Roger Eckels is set for July 30.

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