Manzi, Scherf drug bust

Indiana County District Attorney Robert Manzi, left, and borough police

officer John Scherf displayed Thursday what police seized as part of a sting

operation.

An Indiana man was jailed this week to face drug trafficking charges following a sting operation by Indiana Borough

police detectives working as part of the Indiana County Drug Task Force.

Tyler Ozepy, of 26 N. Fifth St., is being held on $50,000 cash bond and faces three felony counts of possession with intent to deliver drugs.

Police first based their charges on Ozepy’s sale of an undisclosed amount of heroin to an informant under surveillance Dec. 26 in Ozepy’s apartment. But detectives built on the case Tuesday when they staked out Ozepy’s residence, took him into custody and found a cache of about seven bricks of heroin — each containing about 50 stamp bags of the drug — along with a gun and more than $1,500 cash in a search of his apartment.

In criminal complaints filed Tuesday in Indiana District Court, Detective Leroy Anderson detailed the informant’s purchase from Ozepy but withheld the amounts of cash paid and drugs obtained. Anderson set out that evening with other detectives, armed with an arrest warrant issued by District Judge Guy Haberl, and took Ozepy into custody without incident just after 9 p.m. when he arrived at the apartment with two women, one of them his roommate.

Police immediately seized $265 and a cellphone from Ozepy, and later found a 9 mm Highpoint handgun under a pillow on a mattress in the living room. The search also turned up 340 stamp bags of heroin, some related paraphernalia, six pills and $1,240 from a safe in a bedroom closet, according to the court papers.

About half the bags were stamped with the words GREASY GORILLA, BINGO and LOCK and half were plain white; the gun was loaded with eight rounds in the magazine; and a box of ammunition was found nearby.

Anderson said Thursday the heroin has a street value as high as $5,100 at prices of $10 to $15 a bag typically paid by heroin users in Indiana County.

Detective John Scherf said the heroin bags will be sent to a lab for analysis. Indiana County District Attorney Robert Manzi said the seriousness of the charges and severity of any penalty would be based on the totality of the evidence — the total weight and purity of the drug contained in the stamp bags.

In the charging documents, Anderson wrote that Ozepy took full responsibility for the drugs.

“He advised that the heroin belonged to him, not the female. He also advised (that) he was the only one selling the heroin, and the female did not know this.”

The two women found with Ozepy when police arrested him were not named in the complaint. One of the women, the owner of the car, had some heroin-related paraphernalia in her possession, according to the complaint.

The other, Ozepy’s roommate, gave police permission to search the apartment and provided a key for Anderson to unlock the safe.

For the drug sale to the informant, police charged Ozepy with possession with intent to deliver drugs, delivery of drugs and possession of a controlled substance. In the second complaint stemming from the search of the apartment, Anderson charged him with possession with intent to deliver, possession of drugs and possession of paraphernalia.

Ozepy is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Thursday before Haberl.