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Burglary investigation leads police to large-scale drug distribution

EBENSBURG, Pa. -- More than 200 baggies of heroin and hundreds of dollars in cash were seized from an Ebensburg Borough home Thursday. Investigators are calling it one of the largest drug busts they've seen in the area. 

It started as a burglary investigation at a home in East Conemaugh borough. Police there got the help of police in Ebensburg to question a few individuals they tracked to a home in Ebensburg. Police said they showed up at the home only to ask questions, but when they were invited inside they said they found a whole lot more.

"When our officer went there to contact them, he was invited in the house and saw drug paraphernalia and a couple people took off running into other rooms," said Ebensburg Borough Police Chief Terry Wyland. "We called and secured the house and got a search warrant." 

And that's when they found syringes, scales, more than $800 in cash and more than 200 individual stamp bags of heroin, which police say has a street value about $4,000.

"We're very happy because most of it was going to local people in the area here so we got that off the street," said Wyland. "Heroin is one of the terrible drugs, so we were happy to do that."

Police arrested Joe Stefanowski of Ebensburg on distribution of drugs and a juvenile from Pittsburgh, who they said brought them into the area at least three times every week. 

In addition to the drugs and cash, police also found the items they said were missing from the home burglarized in East Conemaugh Borough along with dozens of empty baggies of heroin they said were used by the suspects between five and 10 times a day.

"That's quite a problem to have," said Wyland. "In the beginning when they first start, not these people, but generally speaking, they steal some things to try to cash in for money and then once you get hooked bad you can't even do that." 

The juvenile is in a detention center and Stefanoski is in jail on $40,000 bond. Police said charges are pending on a couple other people they believe were involved in the burglary.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times