Joint operation leads to the biggest heroin bust in 20 years
PHILADELPHIA (June 10, 2015) – Philadelphia District Attorney R. Seth Williams and Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today announced the results of a joint task force that led to the arrest of three suspects and the confiscation of $3.3 million of heroin – the biggest heroin bust in 20 years. The operation focused on three locations: 1818 Bergen St., 1216 Levick St., and Roosevelt Blvd. and Stanwood St. that were used for drug distribution and money laundering.
“This is a major bust and it only happened because of the great working relationship that we have with the DEA,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “I congratulate all of the officers and detectives who were involved, and hope that today’s announcement – and yes there are more to come – sends a clear message to the citizens of Philadelphia that we’re working to shut down drug houses like these in order to make our neighborhoods safer.”
Martin Paulino Gomez (date of birth: Nov. 11, 1974), Domingo Cedno Pimentel (date of birth: Aug. 30, 1988) and Ricardo Ortiz-Rolon, AKA Acquiles Perez-Gomera, (date of birth: April 29, 1979) have been charged with Knowing and Intentional Possession of Controlled Substances, Manufacturing and Delivering and Possessing with Intent to Deliver Controlled Substances, Conspiracy, and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
“Heroin is the primary drug threat to our area and as such, a significant enforcement priority of the DEA Philadelphia Division,” said Special Agent in Charge Gary Tuggle. “Working with the District Attorney’s Office, officers and agents dismantled a significant drug trafficking organization and seized a substantial amount of heroin denying its distribution to our streets. The DEA will be unrelenting in our pursuit of those individuals pushing heroin into our communities.”
In March of 2015, officers and detectives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office of Dangerous Drug Offenders Unit (DDOU)/High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force and agents from the DEA began to investigate an area drug ring for laundering drug money. The following month, countless surveillance hours led officers to believe that the property located at 1818 Bergen St. in Philadelphia was being used as a safe house/stash house to prepare and store drugs and money.
On April 28, 2015, officers and detectives assigned to DDOU and DEA agents stopped two defendants outside the Bergen St. property, one of which had just exited the house with a kilogram of heroin. Investigators then used a search warrant to search the Bergen St. property and found nine additional kilograms of heroin. A portion of heroin was cut into 18 racks, each containing 50 bundles, for a total of 11,700 individual packets of heroin with various stamps. The search also yielded drug paraphernalia in addition to a heat sealer, several grinders, large and small clear baggies, stamps and digital scales. The estimated street value of the seized heroin is approximately $3.3 million dollars. The DEA concluded the search by taking possession of all confiscated drugs and paraphernalia to be used as evidence.