NORTH SIDE (KDKA) – After a 10-month investigation, Pittsburgh Police have taken dozens of drug dealers and thousands of dollars worth of drugs off the streets.
According to police, since August of last year, they have been making undercover drug buys from suspected dealers on the North Side.
The investigation has resulted in 38 arrests.
Police have also seized heroin, crack, marijuana and prescription medication totaling more than $70,000.
Officials said they launched the investigation because of citizen complaints.
Minister Earl Baldwin sees the grand opening for the new location of his barbershop, across the street from where it used to be as an island in the midst of despair.
His “Hallelujah Anyhow” shop, where you can get a cut and a prayer, was meant to turn a new page on a block of East Ohio Street overrun with drug deals.
The weekend arrest of 38 people helped.
“I think its good not only for business but for the community. Opened up brand new here, trying to get the community to come back to East Ohio Street,” said Baldwin. “And do something great here where we can be a light in a dark place out here.”
At a news conference, Asst. Pittsburgh Police Chief George Trosky said the investigation was a response to community tips and calls.
“The 10 month long investigation resulted in the arrest of 38 individuals — 35 males, three females,” he said. “Their ages range from 18 to 63.”
Police confiscated $40,000 in cash and $73,000 worth of drugs including stamp bags and raw heroin, crack cocaine, pills and marijuana. The arrests were made not only on East Ohio Street, but in Spring Garden and Troy Hill as well.
Heroin is popular, and is part of a trend.
“It’s cheap. You get heroin for $8 a bag up to $10 a bag and you can sell it for double profit,” said Lt. Robert Roth. “Most of the drugs that were seized and we’re getting increases actually is heroin. Crack cocaine has kind of remained steady and marijuana has kind of remained steady but we’re actually getting increases in heroin.”
Police urge city residents with concerns about drugs in their neighborhoods to call 911.
“I think we need to set up for something different, that we become a community once again, ” said Baldwin. “I once was a part of that lifestyle, but today is a different day.”