DA office deems Rankin housing complex ‘harmful property’ after drug discovery

The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office plans to notify the owner of a Rankin housing complex that he considers the complex to be “nuisance property” after a search warrant revealed thousands of bags of suspected heroin, the office announced Thursday.

The warrant, served early Thursday in Palisades Plaza, was the culmination of a months-long investigation, said Mike Manko, spokesman for the district attorney’s office.

“It is the district attorney’s intent to notify the owner of the Palisades Housing Complex that he is operating nuisance property that endangers the safety of occupants,” Manko said.

Once the owner is notified, he said, the district attorney “will take all appropriate steps to ensure the safety of those residents.”

Manko said he couldn’t specify what those steps might entail.

A representative for the apartment complex could not immediately be reached for comment.

The investigation began about two months ago when the district attorney’s office launched an undercover investigation into alleged trafficking around the complex, which was spurred by “the recent increase in violence” around the apartments.

The task force — made up of investigators from the DA’s office, state police, the Drug Enforcement Agency and half a dozen city departments — found 4,000 bags of suspected heroin and fentanyl and a loaded .40 caliber Glock in one of the apartments.

The discovery led to charges being laid against Durobb Johnson Jr., 18, of Braddock, and Montell Mitchell, 27, who lives in the housing complex. Both face drug charges.

Neither was in custody Thursday afternoon, according to court records.

Megan Guza is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Megan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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