Joint Task Force Infiltrates “Open Air Heroin Drug Market”


September 19, 2012: The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office Dangerous Drug Offenders Unit along with the DEA, the Philadelphia Police Department’s 25th District Narcotics Enforcement Team, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office arrested 7 people, and seized over 25 bundles of heroin after a joint sting operation on Tuesday, September 18, 2012. 

In July of this year Attorney General Eric Holder announced that 50 additional federal agents would be helping Philadelphia law enforcement agencies combat violent crime involving guns and drugs.  The expanded “Surge” operation partners, also known as the Joint Law Enforcement Intelligence Committee (JLEIC), operated from a proactive stance to build cases against drug dealers.

On March 12, 2012, 17-year-old Dexter Bowie and 18-year-old Jonathan Stokely were both shot to death while riding on an ATV at the corner of 9th and Indiana.  Numerous bullet casings were found at the scene, including 9mm cartridges.  After this double murder the JLEIC identified the Philadelphia Police Department’s 25th District as a priority, and devoted resources to this violent area.  After targeting the “Badlands” area of the 25th District, the JLEIC obtained information from a DEA confidential source about an “Open Air Heroin Drug Market” that was being run by 40-year-old Carlos Escobar and 55-year-old Miguel “Jose” Gomez.  The Escobar/Gomez Drug Trafficking Organization (DTO) operated at 7th and Cambria Streets, which was one block away from where the two teenage boys were murdered in March. 31-year-old Lloyd Christopher Butler and 26-year-old Zaiee Talbert have been charged with the murders of Dexter Bowie and Jonathan Stokely.

As a result of this information the JLEIC started tracking Escobar, Gomez and their colleagues in May of 2012. Escobar and Gomez are known felons with multiple drug arrests and convictions.  Agents were able to ascertain that the Escobar/Gomez’ Drug DTO consisted of approximately 7 people who were selling heroin bundles at 7th and Cambria. The DTO began selling heroin in the early morning hours and continued throughout the day 7 days a week.

Throughout the course of the summer, as a result of an intensive investigation agents and officers of the JLEIC were able to make 40 arrests, and 52 seizures of heroin which included approximately 17 controlled purchases of heroin. 

The following individuals were arrested and charged with 17 counts of Possession with Intent to Deliver Heroin, 17 counts of Conspiracy and several other related charges.  40-year-old Carlos Escobar, 3400 block of Hartville Street in Philadelphia; 55-year-old Miguel “Jose” Gomez, 2900 block of N. Marshall Street; 37-year-old Jorge Gonzalez, 3700 block of N. Randolph Street; 35-year-old Carlos Jiminez, 3000 block of Indiana Street; 51 year old Jose Ramos, 3200 block of N. 6th Street; 34-year-old Pedro Mendez, 4500 block of W. Marshall Street; 26-year-old Melvin Montano, 300 block of E. Ontario Street.  All of the defendants have been arraigned and are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on September 27, 2012 in courtroom 406.





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