PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa calls heroin the No. 1 problem in the area.
So Tuesday’s arrest of Michael Schmidt Sr. and 11 others involved in his heroin organization is a relief.
“This individual and this organization was responsible for the bulk of the heroin in our community,” Lamancusa said.
Lamancusa says from June of 2013 to this month 11 adults and one juvenile dealt anywhere from $3-6 million worth of heroin in Lawrence County. At one point, the D.A. says the group was dealing 1 kilo per week.
The Lawrence County District Attorney says the ring was particularly difficult to catch because they were either related to each other, had dated one another or were close friends.
A heroin organization run by a family was brought down Tuesday after a year of investigations that involved numerous police organizations and even the federal government.
The Schmidt organization was led by Michael Schmidt Senior who’d been previously convicted for selling drugs.
“For the most part he really ran under the radar for a while,” Lamancusa said. “It was only through the development of confidential informants and some undercover operations through our law enforcement community that we were able to pinpoint where the heroin is coming from.”
New Castle City Police, the D.E.A. and Drug Task Force zoned in on what they say were major buys coming from Youngstown, Ohio.
Police agencies searched four homes early this morning.
They made the arrests and found numerous items including $43,000 dollars in cash and $40,000 worth of heroin that was buried in the ground. All 12 face numerous charges. The District Attorney says he will charge the juvenile as an adult.