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7 kilos of raw heroin seized on PA Turnpike
By: Maria Miller
SOMERSET, Pa. -- Investigators are stunned after nearly 15 pounds of raw heroin was seized from the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Somerset County earlier this month.
Police are still working to figure out how much it's worth because they said they've never seen this much uncutheroin.
"One of the troopers was behind a vehicle and ran the plate. The registration came back to a different make and model and as a result it's illegal, so he pulled it over," said Somerset County District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser.
A criminal complaint said the driver, Maria Pina, and her passenger, Gilberto Ocampo, both of Illinois, seemed nervous and wouldn't look at officers. But they did give a verbal and written consent to search.
"It was a work van. There was some discussion with the passengers that they were on their way to do a paint job or something and there was a red air compressor in the back," Lazzari-Strasiser said.
Officers said that compressor was somewhat hidden and didn't look quite right. When they took a closer look and got an actual warrant, they made a huge discovery.
"There was some marks on the outside (of the compressor) that would indicate that it was tampered with, including weld marks," Lazzari-Strasiser said. "Inside the compressor were 7 kilos of heroin not cut; a tremendous amount."
Seven kilos is the equivalent of a little more than 15 pounds. It's so much raw heroin that authorities said they're not even sure how much it's worth, but would estimate somewhere in the millions of dollars.
"We talk about street value. We talk about how it's cut and how you can increase the weight," Lazzari-Strasiser said. "That has not even been done with this. So at this point I would even want to venture to guess what the street value would be."
Pina and Ocampo remain in the Somerset County Jail with bond said at $500,000 each.