Pubdate: Sat, 10 Dec 2011
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
Copyright: 2011 PG Publishing Co., Inc.
Author: Rich Lord


A former Duquesne constable charged with conspiring to sell cocaine
was found not guilty in U.S. District Court Friday.

Prosecutors had painted him as a sworn law enforcement officer who
provided safe haven for his cocaine-dealing friends.

But Mr. Cobb, 30, testified Thursday that although his brothers,
friends and even the mother of his son got mixed up with drugs, he
chose a different path, signing on as a city firefighter from the age
of 17 and working in private security. In 2006, he went to state
constable school and took that post, which involves serving warrants
but not making arrests.

In Duquesne, he said, "All I see is these guys out there indulging in
drug activity. ... I told my friends, 'Do this for me: Respect me.
When you come to my house, I don't want you to bring any cocaine,
crack or heroin.' "

He did, however, smoke marijuana, and had around five ounces under his
mattress that he would share with lady friends.

"Police would say, 'You're living on both sides,' " he said, adding
that they wouldn't socialize with him. Still, he wouldn't turn his
back on his people, he said.

His best friend, Dewayne Joseph, pleaded guilty in October to selling
cocaine, but before that signed an affidavit saying that Mr. Cobb had
nothing to do with the drug trade. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy L.
Johnston attacked his credibility, noting that he had confirmed Mr.
Cobb's involvement at his plea hearing.

She also played recordings of cell phone conversations, captured in
the FBI wiretap, in which he referenced Mr. Cobb while apparently
talking about cocaine.

"He don't have nothing to do with it," Mr. Joseph maintained.

FBI Special Agent Minh Truong confirmed that Mr. Cobb, upon his Dec.
14 arrest, offered him a digital device that held video from a camera
posted on his house. "I declined his offer," Mr. Truong said.

Mr. Cobb's attorney, William L. Summers, made much of the decision not
to seize the footage, saying it would have exonerated the former
constable, but had since been automatically taped over.

"Have you ever heard the saying that a picture speaks a thousand
words?" Mr. Summers asked Mr. Truong.

"Yes, sir," said Mr. Truong.

"What's a video speak?" Mr. Summers asked.

"I don't have the video," Mr. Truong said.

"You should," said Mr. Summers.

Mr. Cobb was among 42 people charged following a 2010 FBI
investigation into Mon Valley cocaine dealing. He was the first to go
to trial. 
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