Pittsburgh judge facing backlash after releasing alleged drug dealer

Protesters outside of Judge Xander Orenstein's office
Protesters outside of Judge Xander Orenstein's office Photo credit Get Marty

A local judge is receiving criticism after releasing an accused drug dealer.

Yan Carlos Pichardo Cepeda was arrested in Pittsburgh after allegedly carrying enough fentanyl to kill 35 percent of Pennsylvania.

Magisterial District Justice Xander Orenstein released him on non-monetary bail.

Now, residents like Martin have been holding small protests outside of Orenstein's office and home.

“We have to do more,” said Martin. “It affects every person in Allegheny County, every family has suffered from drug addiction from drug overdoses, we’re all affected.”

Martin adds he’s “tired” of going to funerals for people that have overdosed.

Cepeda failed to show up for a hearing last week. Another judge has issued an arrest warrant. DA Stephen Zappala has publicly criticized Orenstein's decision, and filed a motion to reverse it.

Orenstein was elected by 40 votes in 2021.

Their platform placed heavy emphasis on more equity in the justice system, including curtailing the use of cash bail.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Get Marty