This article was originally published by Tim Hahn on on Feb 14, 2018

Investigators seized a significant quantity of suspected heroin, along with some suspected cocaine and a stolen handgun, in a drug probe fueled by citizen complaints that led to the search of a west Erie apartment on Tuesday night.

Charged in the investigation on Wednesday was 29-year-old city resident Peiaris D. Bell, who was placed in the Erie County Prison on $250,000 bond after he was arraigned by Erie 1st Ward District Judge Sue Mack on charges of possession with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, receiving stolen property and possession of a firearm prohibited.

The charges were filed following an investigation that led to the search of an apartment in the 400 block of West Eighth Street on Tuesday at about 7:30 p.m. Bell had left the apartment before the search but was apprehended in a traffic stop in the first block of West Eighth Street. He was found in possession of a baggie of suspected marijuana, $228 in cash and a chunk of suspected heroin that was found in his shoe, according to Erie police Lt. Mike Chodubski and information in the criminal complaint against Bell.

Investigators served a search warrant on the apartment and found a safe containing $2,400 in cash and a quantity of suspected heroin; a Ruger 9 mm handgun, reported stolen in Erie on Aug. 25, in a dresser drawer; and a digital scale and baggies containing suspected heroin and suspected cocaine in the kitchen, according to the complaint.

Chodubski said the suspected heroin seized on Tuesday night had an estimated street value of about $50,000, while the suspected cocaine had an estimated street value of about $1,000.

Tuesday’s search was the result of a roughly three-month drug investigation that was fueled by numerous complaints about suspected drug activity in the area, Chodubski said. Investigators made some undercover buys as part of the investigation, he said.

Members of the Erie Bureau of Police Drug & Vice Unit worked the investigation with investigators from the Millcreek Township Police Department and the Erie County District Attorney’s Drug Task Force. Erie police Deputy Chief Mike Nolan said the investigation was aided by the cooperative effort of drug investigators and could not have happened without everyone working together.

“It’s a unified effort to deal with this drug problem we have,” Nolan said.