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7 Charged With Drug Violations Are Study in Contrasts

Times Staff Writer

One of seven alleged drug dealers named in federal indictments here Friday was described as a man whose distribution network included several major league cities--Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, St. Louis and Philadelphia, among others.

Shelby Stephen Greer, 29, was one of six Pittsburgh men charged by a federal grand jury with dealing in drugs during a period that started in 1979. The seventh man, Curtis Strong, 38, of Philadelphia, once catered food for the Phillies in the Veterans Stadium clubhouse.

Although no baseball players were indicted and U.S. Atty. Jerry Johnson refused to implicate players, the indictments are the result of a grand jury investigation that was marked by testimony from at least 11 players. The players were granted immunity from prosecution.

Besides Greer and Strong, others charged Friday were Dale Martin Shiffman, 33; Kevin Michael Connolly, 27; Thomas Patrick Balzer, 27; Jeffery Lynn Mosco, 30; and Robert William McCue, 38.

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The indictments listed 165 counts of violations of the federal narcotics laws. Indictments are accusations, not evidence of guilt, but convictions could lead to penalties of as much as 15 years in jail and $30,000 in fines for each count.

All seven of the men were arrested Friday and appeared in a federal magistrate’s court, where they were read their indictments. They will appear for arraignment next Friday.

The chief targets were Greer and Shiffman. Greer, said to be a friend of Dave Parker, the former Pittsburgh Pirate outfielder who now plays for the Cincinnati Reds and who was a witness before the grand jury, has cooperated with federal authorities since FBI agents raided his apartment in January and found amounts of cocaine, drug paraphernalia and apparent records of narcotics sales.

Greer and four of the other Pittsburgh men were released under unsecured $50,000 bonds, pending their appearances at the arraignments, but Shiffman, who was named on 111 counts, remained in custody after the federal magistrate denied him bond.

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“There is probable cause for Mr. Shiffman to continue his course of conduct,” Johnson said at a detention hearing before the magistrate. “He is not employed and he supports himself by selling drugs. He is a pusher. There is no guarantee that his release at this time would be in the best interests of the safety of the community.”

Robert Craig, an FBI narcotics agent who appeared at Greer’s detention hearing, said that from 1979 through 1985 Greer, operating out of Pittsburgh and Denver, did drug business in six cities where major league baseball is played. Afterward, Craig hinted that Atlanta, another baseball city, was another place where Greer did business.

Most of the 165 counts cited drug violations over several years that occurred from April through October--during the baseball season.

Those indicted were studies in contrasts: Greer, a bookish-looking, well-dressed man who had lived in Pittsburgh’s best suburban neighborhoods; Shiffman, a fidgety, sloppily dressed former photographer whose possessions when arrested included a book entitled “The Complete Guide to the Street Drug Game,” and Mosco, a swarthy, bearded, 300-pound bartender who sat wild-eyed while the charges were read.

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And then there is McCue, said to be a friend of Dale Berra, a former Pirate now with the New York Yankees. Until Friday, McCue had been the comptroller for the Allegheny County Easter Seal Society here. He was fired from that job shortly after the indictment was announced.


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