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Arrested Pittsburgh-area man labeled 'leader' of meth ring

Based on the words of an unnamed informant and a man charged with manufacturing and distributing methamphetamines, authorities are calling a Lawrence County man the ringleader of a Pittsburgh-area drug dealing operation. Federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents arrested the man after a series of raids of New Castle homes where, they said, they found evidence that the man had been making and storing meth since January.

The defendant, 33, lives in New Castle after moving to Pennsylvania from out of state. On May 29, DEA agents raided two New Castle homes, including one believed to be the defendant's former address. They arrested three people, at least one of whom claimed to the officers that defendant was the "mastermind" of the drug trafficking operation. That man led authorities to a hidden cache of meth that he said belonged to the defendant. The 33-year-old used to teach people how to cook meth for $1,000, the second defendant said.

An article about the arrests identifies an anonymous informant as also describing the defendant as the ringleader who recruited the other arrested people, taught them how to cook meth and directed them to buy ingredients in various stores to avoid suspicion.

The unnamed informant's connection to the alleged drug dealing ring is not described in the article. It is possible that he or she was working with authorities prior to the arrest, or was a member of the ring and is giving statements to police now in exchange for a possible plea bargain later. If so, that fact may come up at a future trial for the so-called "ringleader."

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Accused Lawrence County meth ring head faces trafficking charges," Torsten Ove, June 12, 2012

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