The month of December is famously associated with holiday cheer, festive gatherings, and fun winter outings. However, state law enforcement officials and federal government agents are rewriting this seasonal narrative by busting drug trafficking rings across the state of Pennsylvania.
In Pennsylvania, drug trafficking or distribution, or “Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance,” is a serious felony offense. Even first-time offenders can face harsh penalties if convicted in court. A verdict is based on several factors, including the severity of the offense and the type of drug being distributed. In drug trafficking cases, only effective and experienced legal representation can hope to achieve a life-saving charge reduction, acquittal, or case dismissal.
The $8 Million-a-Week Drug Ring
After several months of investigation, Pennsylvania police, the FBI, and other local authorities surrounded and stormed a Warminster home in Bucks County that was serving as a massive narcotics distribution center. Authorities arrested and charged eleven people for distributing nearly $8 million worth of opioids each week. According to District Attorney Matthew Weintraub, investigators discovered about 200 pounds of heroin and fentanyl, stacks of cash, and a loaded handgun.
Warminster police started watching the house back in July after receiving an anonymous tip. Reportedly, Moises Rodriguez and Dariel Vasquez were seen repeatedly leaving the house with giant trash bags full of drugs. Weintraub claims that this case “exemplified why tips from the public are important to authorities. Keep your tips coming. They are working.” Rodriguez, Vasquez, and their nine associates are all facing drug distribution charges.
The “Mon Valley” Drug Sweep
On December 5, 2018, the City of McKeesport Police Department, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office, Allegheny County Police, and other law enforcement agencies completed a 7-month investigation involving the distribution of illegal narcotics in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. At this time, 32 people have been arrested for trafficking heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine throughout the Monongahela Valley. However, this wide-ranging narcotics investigation is still ongoing. The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office announced that 70 warrants have been issued for individuals who participated in these illegal narcotics sales.
In May 2018, Reading police officers received an anonymous tip about suspicious drug activity in the 500 block of Gordon Street and in a garage on Miltimore Street. During the investigation, they discovered that the distribution network spanned into West Reading, Exeter, Alsace Township, Muhlenberg, and other townships throughout Berks County.
On December 13, 2018, search warrants were served at these locations:
- 210 North 9th Street, Reading
- 343 Hollenbach Street, Reading
- 541 Gordon Street, Reading
- 211 West Douglass Street, Reading
- 3323 Gray Street, Muhlenberg
- 372 Rugby Road, Exeter
- 2321 Alsace Road, Alsace Township
Reading officials arrested 18 individuals in “Operation K-O’d” and currently have warrants out for other dealers and customers involved in this criminal drug trafficking organization. Officials are filing a motion to revoke the bail for these individuals, which currently ranges between $5,000 to $1 million.
Police uncovered over 200 pounds of synthetic cannabinoids, cocaine, and prescription opioids. At a news conference on December 14th, Berks County District Attorney John Adams explained that synthetic marijuana is incredibly dangerous, and that the K2 seized in this operation could be coated with acetone and weed killer. “They’ll put anything in it to satisfy their customer base or to get them addicted,” Adams said.
Defenses to Drug Trafficking Charges
Being arrested for drug trafficking is an incredibly traumatic experience. Not only do you need to deal with the social stigma associated with the arrest, you also have very little time to concoct an effective defense strategy.
Defenses to drug trafficking include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of knowledge
- Unlawful search and seizure
- Insufficient quantity of the drug
- Drugs don’t belong to the defendant
If you’re facing criminal charges, it’s imperative that you contact an experienced drug crimes attorney with a comprehensive understanding of both state and federal drug laws. The sooner your attorney can get started on your defense case, the better chance you have at securing a positive case outcome. Without experienced representation, you could face imprisonment, costly fines, and a detrimental criminal record.
Retain Trial-Tested Representation Today
Contact the Law Office of William D. Thompson if you require criminal defense representation. Our Scranton drug trafficking lawyer has the litigation skills and legal resources to defend your rights both in and out of court. During your consultation, we can discuss your case and your practical legal options. By understanding personal and legal needs, we can devise a thorough litigation strategy that achieves a positive case resolution.