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Authorities round up 8 suspected in drug ring

Thursday, August 17, 2000

By Torsten Ove, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Federal agents and police swept through North Versailles and Duquesne yesterday, arresting eight local members of a suspected drug ring that was shipping marijuana from Texas and New Mexico into the Pittsburgh area.

At the same time, FBI agents rounded up suspects in Albuquerque, N.M., Atlanta and San Diego and were on the hunt for others named in a federal indictment unsealed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh.

One local suspect, identified by agents as Colin D. Foster, 32, holed up in his house on Carter Street West in North Versailles yesterday for a couple of hours and refused to come out, forcing police and firefighters to shut down the street as FBI agents surrounded the home.

Eventually, Foster emerged without a struggle.

He was among 10 local defendants named in the indictment, which lists a total of 20 suspects as part of the multistate conspiracy. The FBI was still looking for two other Pittsburgh-area residents yesterday -- Michael Antwon Rose, 31, and Priscilla D. Wilson, 27, both of Duquesne.

According to the indictment, the conspirators distributed more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana from 1995 until January of this year. Some of the ring members were also involved in laundering the drug proceeds, according to the charges.

Agents arrested some of the 10 other defendants in New Mexico, Georgia and California and were looking for others in New Mexico and Texas.

The indictment contains only sparse information and does not detail the extent of the conspiracy or how the drug network operated. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Leon Rodriguez said specifics of the case would emerge during federal detention hearings scheduled for Friday morning in Pittsburgh. He would say only that the Pittsburgh area was the destination point for the drugs.

Those arrested locally were arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ila Jeanne Sensenich and sent to the Allegheny County Jail.

In addition to Foster, Rose and Wilson, the indictment names these suspects:

Jerome R. Jones, 28, of North Versailles; Randolph S. Gustave, 25, of Duquesne; James Brown Jr., 47, of North Versailles; Verl Heard Jr., 24, of North Versailles; Michael R. Johnson, 38, of Albuquerque, N.M.; Traci A. Johnson, 32, of San Diego; Lamont E. Jones, 25, of Ellenwood, Calif.; Carla M. Magwood, 33, of Duquesne; Anita Murphy, 26, of Penn Hills; Dana L. Relerford, 26, of Albuquerque; Elaine F. Siqueiros, 43, of Albuquerque; Andrea Jamille Trowery, 26, of Duquesne; Martha Lorena Avitia, 31, of Albuquerque; Adrian Alvarez, 28, of Albuquerque; Heriberto Ramos, 33, of Rio Rancho, N.M.; Gary A. Leal, 32, of Albuquerque; and Leslie Chavez, 24, of El Paso, Texas.


Staff writer Jonathan Silver contributed to this report.



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