District Judge Thomas Caulfield handled four cases involving heroin last week in his Forest Hills courtroom.
Ameythyst C. Riley, 20, of Etna was held for court on charges of intentional possession of a controlled substance by a person not registered and endangering the welfare of children in connection with an incident in Swissvale on Oct. 8. According to a criminal complaint filed by Swissvale police, the car in which she was riding was stopped by an officer because of an inoperable brake light.
The car had four passengers and a small child inside. When Riley, the front seat passenger, exited the car, several stamp bags of heroin fell from the inside of her pant leg. Riley told the officer she was three months pregnant and using prescribed methadone.
At the station, police found five syringes in her purse. They recovered a total of 17 stamp bags in her possession.
Riley faces a formal arraignment in Allegheny County Common Please Court at 11 a.m. Jan. 24, 2013.
In a second case heard by Caulfield, Cathy Lynn Montalbano, 53, of Swissvale waived her right to a preliminary hearing before Caulfield on charges of intentional possession of a controlled substance by a person not registered and two counts of use/possession of drug paraphernalia filed by Swissvale police after an incident on Nov. 3.
According to a criminal complaint filed by Swissvale police, an officer on patrol was flagged down by a man on Roslyn Street who said he had just witnessed a possible drug transaction in Edgewood Towne Centre. The witness told police a man had walked up to the side of a black Jeep and handed the woman something—and that the woman began to smoke some substance in a pipe.
The man followed the Jeep long enough to get the license plate number. About five minutes after receiving the information, the Jeep in question pulled up behind the police car. The officer issued the woman driver a citation for not having a valid driver's license, then asked for her permission to search the Jeep.
The officer stated in the criminal complaint that he saw a glass crack cocaine pipe in the center console. A check of the unnamed driver's purse turned up a syringe. During a search of the driver at the station, police found a rock of suspected crack cocaine in her bra. A stamp bag labeled "Gucci" was found in Montalbano's bra.
In a third case, R. Seth Barnhart, 33, of Uniontown waived his right to a preliminary hearing on a charge of intentional possession of a controlled substance by a person not registered filed by Churchill police. A charge of use/possession of drug paraphernalia was withdrawn.
A Churchill Borough officer on patrol Aug. 23 saw a car driving erratically while traveling south in the 1200 block of Beulah Road. While conducting a traffic stop, the officer noted that the three occupants of the car appeared nervous and also had fresh needle track marks and scarring on their forearms and hands.
According to a criminal complaint, the officer observed a hypodermic needle cap in the front passenger armrest and an empty stamp bag in the center console. The male passenger admitted to having a needle and possessing heroin. The complaint states that when Barnhart shook his legs, several bundles fell from his underwear and landed at his feet.
Police recovered 59 stamp bags from Barnhart. A female passenger, . She was held for court in a separate hearing before Caulfield on Oct. 17. The driver was not charged.
In a fourth case, Kelly Scherer, 36, a former Central Catholic High School guidance counselor, waived her right to a preliminary hearing before Caulfield on several charges related to selling heroin from her Sumner Avenue apartment in Forest Hills. Click here for more details about Scherer's case.
Check Patch Tuesday for more results from last week's hearings in Caulfield's courtroom.