PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike has been a hotbed for drug trafficking, according to police.
In all the drug busts made locally, there has never been one quite like this one.
The street value, the shocking volume of heroin discovered and training used by investigators during a routine traffic stop all led to police netting a huge $2 million Turnpike drug seizure.
“This is the largest seizure the TACET has made, and the TACET has made an unbelievable amount of seizures,” said Trooper Steve Limani, Public Information Officer for the Troop A of the Pennsylvania State Police.
Limani says the Turnpike is the major thoroughfare between the three main cities feeding drugs into our region: Philadelphia, New York and Chicago.
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Wednesday night, a white Suburban passed through Somerset heading to Pittsburgh from Philadelphia. What was found inside was shocking.
“It’s an incredible amount of heroin that we were able to seize off the Pennsylvania Turnpike,” Limani said.
Trooper Limani says what State Police found was anything but routine.
“They were able to find a compartment in the back. It was dead space, like an after-market compartment that was installed, and once they were able to access that, they found 4,000 bricks of heroin,” Limani said.
Authorities say that equates to 200,000 stamp bags of heroin with a street value of roughly $2 million.
Police say the drug alleged runner Anna Rodrigues Gonzalez was driving alone and police say she went to sophisticated lengths to hide the drugs.
“Then they tried to carpet that area to make it appear like it would flow with the rest of vehicle, and the one thing about the TACET team, they have an extensive knowledge of vehicles and what the interior’s supposed to look like,” Limani told KDKA News.
Rodrigues Gonzalez is now charged with intent to deliver and is in the Somerset County Jail. Police suspect she wasn’t acting alone and tips are welcome.
“We were very fortunate. I think that one of the things of trying to get that amount of drugs before it got into our community, [is it] probably saved lives,” Limani said. “[It’s] a significant win for the good guys when it comes to taking all these drugs off the streets.”
Police credit their ongoing training as critical to staying one step ahead of sophisticated efforts to hide and traffic drugs, as well as a drug-sniffing dog available close to the Turnpike to assist in searches.