• Police: Mom brought 3 young kids to drug transaction


    EAST LIBERTY, Pa. - A 26-year-old mother from Shaler was arrested Wednesday after police said she brought her three young children with her to East Liberty to purchase drugs.

    According to the police report, officers observed Courtney Hanus sitting in her van in the parking lot of 59 Penn Circle West.

    The officers said Hanus was parked very far away from the entrance to the building, as well as away from other vehicles. They noticed there were multiple children in the van with Hanus.

    According to the officers, they conducted surveillance on Hanus’ van because they had received complaints of drug transactions in that parking lot previously.

    After about 10 minutes, Jaquae Freeman, 23, came out of the building and got into Hanus’ van, police said.

    The officers said they had prior knowledge of Freeman being a drug dealer in the East Liberty area. They said he had previously been arrested with crack cocaine, as well as a firearm.

    Under the assumption they were observing a narcotics transaction, the officers said they approached the van.

    The officers said they observed Freeman drop a marijuana cigar on his lap and begin to stuff something into his shoe. He then raised his hands and said, “It’s only a blunt.”

    The officers arrested Freeman and upon searching him, they recovered 11 stamp bags of heroin in his shoe, police said. They also confiscated $20 in cash and a cellphone.

    According to the arresting officers, Freeman said, "Man, I’m just trying to make some money to feed my kids."

    Upon interviewing Hanus, she told police she knew the man as Key, and she drove to East Liberty from Shaler to buy drugs.

    Hanus’ mother came to the scene and took custody of the three children, ages 4, 3 and 18 months. She also took the van.

    Freeman was taken to the Allegheny County Jail and charged with possession of a controlled substance, marijuana possession, possession with intent and criminal use of communication.

    Hanus was also taken to the Allegheny County Jail. She was charged with endangering the welfare of children.

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