27 indicted in a major drug trafficking organization across Pennsylvania

More than $4 million worth of cocaine and fentanyl were seized along with six handguns.

BERKS COUNTY, Pa. – Twenty-seven people have been charged with running a large-scale drug trafficking organization across Pennsylvania, according to Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams and Montgomery District Attorney Kevin Steele.

The 27 people were arrested in an early morning raid on Thursday 1 December.

The defendants were charged with committing offenses involving violations of the Pa. Crimes Code and the Pa. Controlled Substances Act, supply of controlled substances including large quantities of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine, trafficking in proceeds of illegal activity, corrupt organizations and crime involved use of a communications facility.

According to the Berks County District Attorney’s Office, in July 2022, Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office detectives identified a drug dealer operating in Norristown who was distributing cocaine.

Detectives reportedly learned that the Norristown drug dealer was being supplied with large quantities of the illegal drug by an organization with links to Reading.

Based on this information, Montgomery County Detectives teamed up with Berks County Detectives, who jointly launched an investigation to identify the organization and source of the shipment.

During this investigation phase, investigators realized that this organization could be connected to a United States Postal Service (USPS) case in which they were investigating packages containing cocaine and fentanyl shipped via USPS Priority Express Mail, originating in Mexico and destined for Reading .

Due to the scale of the investigation, detectives from Berks, Bucks, Chester and Montgomery counties have joined forces with the City of Reading Police Department, the Pennsylvania State Police, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, inspectors of the United States Postal Service and United States Homeland Security Investigations and the Liberty Mid-Atlantic HIDTA.

During the investigation, two undercover officers infiltrated the organization and purchased large quantities of cocaine and fentanyl.

In addition, several packages destined for Reading households were banned and seized by USPS inspectors. The packages were confiscated and numerous kilograms of cocaine and fentanyl were discovered and confiscated.

Search warrants were obtained and served in a number of locations including Reading, Norristown and Lancaster on 3 and 4 November.

As a result of this investigation, the following summary of evidence was secured and seized:

• Twenty-seven and a half (27.5) kilograms of cocaine were seized (US$770,000.00 bulk value / US$2.7 million potential street value).

• Five and a half (5.5) kilograms of fentanyl were seized (US$203,500.00 bulk value / US$1.6 million potential street value).

• Four (4) hydraulic jacks, steel plates, steel H-frame for compacting pounds of cocaine and heroin/fentanyl

• Four (4) “drum style” weapon magazines.

• Over one hundred and twenty (120) rounds of ammunition

• Over US$60,000.00 in US currency believed to be proceeds from the sale of controlled substances

• Forty (40) cell phones

• Miscellaneous packaging materials, processing equipment, and a large quantity of processing aids, all related to the packaging and processing of heroin and cocaine.

Those arrested have been taken to the sheriff’s office and are awaiting charges. As of the date of this article, seventeen of the twenty-seven suspects have been taken into custody.

Those who have their names in black are still at large.

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