• Former Westmoreland Co. government official headed to trial for major drug charges


    WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. - A former Westmoreland County government official is headed to trial on major drug charges after an undercover drug bust.

    Police said they found guns, drugs and about $50,000 hidden in a basement pipe in Randy Strong’s home while he was the director of a county department.

    When police made the discovery, Strong not only got to keep his job, but also got a promotion and a raise during the 15-month long drug investigation that lead to him being charged on Thursday.

    When drug agents raided his home on Route 981, officials said they allegedly seized cocaine, 13 pounds of marijuana, 36 weapons, including eight semiautomatic pistols, and $78,015. Another $25,000 was found in a backpack in a closet in addition to the $50,000 hidden in the basement pipe.

    The attorney general said Strong was dealing drugs while he was head of the Westmoreland County GIS Tax Mapping Department.

    According to the attorney general, the drug investigation started in October 2011 when agents raided Strong’s home the following month and then carried out six undercover drug buys through November 2012. During that time, Strong was promoted at work and got a $9,000 raise from the county.

    Then, Strong abruptly took a leave of absence in November 2012, two months before the grand jury called.

    Strong resigned in March 2013 and was arraigned on drug charges Thursday.

    Those who worked with Strong said they had no idea that since 2002 their boss was at the center of a major cocaine investigation.

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