HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – A New York man is facing charges after 6,000 stamp bags of heroin were found in his car during a routine traffic stop in Westmoreland County.
According to state police, a state trooper pulled the vehicle over for a turn signal violation along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, west of New Stanton, in Hempfield Township on Monday.
The driver, 34-year-old Joe Cabrera-Castro, gave permission for the trooper to search the vehicle.
“There’s a lot of people moving in and out, but fortunately for us, there’s a lot of mistakes that people moving drugs make and we’re able to capitalize on those mistakes,” said Trooper Stephen Limani, of Pennsylvania State Police.
The trooper found the drugs and took Cabrera-Castro into custody.
But Cabrera-Castro’s story is failure for state police. In June, troopers pulled over 27-year-old Frankley Alonzo Castanos and 30-year-old Jose Montilla, also for a moving violation.
It happened in nearly the same area, with nearly the same amount of heroin. Investigators found the illegal drugs stuffed inside the vehicle’s door panels and other hidden locations
“It usually comes across our border, and gets pushed up into our mega cities, which would be Philadelphia, Chicago and New York, and the moves itself into southwestern Pennsylvania,” Trooper Limani said.
And like Castanos and Montilla, it’s possible Cabrera-Castros arrest near New Stanton may not be coincidental.
“Those hotels, a lot of them operate like a mini apartment. Those people stay there for a month at a time, or they’ll rent a room and just basically run their drug operation out of there,” Trooper Limani said. “These people aren’t users, they’re not using heroin, they’re muling it and trying to get out people hooked on it.”
State police can’t say if the two busts are related, but the results are same. Some heroin is off the street, and while may not seem like much in the larger war, with overdose deaths increasing every day, every little bit counts.
“The message is don’t try to move drugs into the area,” said Trooper Limani. “We’re going to get you, that’s all there is to it.”
Cabrera-Castro was taken to the Westmoreland County Jail on various drug charges and is being held on $100,000 bond.