EARLY MORNING ROUND-UP FOR FORTY-EIGHT DRUG SUSPECTS
Detectives from the Berks County District Attorney's Office and Agents from the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office initiated a joint investigation into several street level drug dealers and mid-level drug dealers who were distributing heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana, and prescription medications within Berks County, Pennsylvania. The investigation revealed that the street level dealers and the mid-level dealers were part of two (2) organizations who were loosely tied and responsible for distributing illegal drugs (mainly heroin) throughout at least three (3) counties in Pennsylvania including Berks, Lancaster, and Schuylkill.
The investigation began in July of 2013 and consisted of numerous undercover drug buys and extensive surveillance. As the scope of the investigation increased, officers and agents continued to investigate and utilized other investigative means including electronic surveillance.
The investigation revealed that members of both organizations colluded with each other at various points throughout the investigation. Members of both organizations acquired bulk quantities of illegal drugs which were eventually broken down into street level quantities to be distributed to numerous customers.
The majority of the illegal activity took place within Berks County but members were responsible for distributing illegal drugs to Lancaster County and Schuylkill County.
On June 23, 2014, as a result of the investigations, members of the following agencies executed 16 search warrants throughout Berks County and 1 search warrant in Lancaster:
- Berks County District Attorney's Detectives
- Office of Attorney General
- Pennsylvania State Police
- Exeter Township Police Department
- Muhlenberg Township Police Department
- Reading Police Department
- Berks County Sheriff's Office
The following items were seized:
- 10 firearms - including assault rifles, shotguns, and semi-automatic handguns
- 9 vehicles
- a dune buggy
- substantial amount of heroin along with marijuana, synthetic marijuana, and cocaine
- various packaging materials
- numerous cell phones
- approximately $40,000 cash
On June 24, 2014, efforts were made to serve arrest warrants on the following 48 individuals and charged with Corrupt Organizations; Criminal Use of Communication Facility; Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activities; Possession of a Controlled Substance; Possession With Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance; and Delivery of a Controlled Substance
- Miguel "Mikey" Torres, age 33; 518 Oley Street, Reading
- Hommy Colon, age 33; 303 North Waverly Street, Shillington
- Jonathan Gonzalez, age 26; 401 Elm Street, Reading
- Erick Marrero, age 19; 426 West Oley Street, Reading
- Nestor Gonzalez, age 23; 341 West Douglass Street, Reading
- Luis Ramirez, age 23; 300 Lackawanna Street, Apt. 3D, Reading
- Luis Ortiz, age 23; 137 Rose Street, Reading
- Daniel Velez, age 30; Halfway House, Wernersville
- Jorge Morales-Gasparini, age 48; 135 Rose Street, Reading
- Jaime Acosta, age 34; 1024 Scott Street, Reading
- Jacob Rivera, age 20; 402 South 10th Street, Reading
- Edwin Colon, age 34; 33 Maple Street, Reading
- Staley Williams, age 35; 402 Sycamore Street, West Reading
- William Colon, age 24; 340 Pear Street, Reading
- Alexis Arroyo, age 39; 1900 Lorraine Road, Apt. 27D, Reading
- Daniel Roman, age 33; 104 Oley Street, Reading
- Angel Garcia, age 38; unknown address in Pottsville
- Harry Yellets, Jr., age 54; 45 South Pearl Street, Lancaster
- Maurice Price, age 35; 1131 Wabank, Apt. F201, Lancaster
- Victor Brown, age 44; 350 Elm Street, Reading
- William Cordero, age 38; Berks County Jail
- Anthony Ovid, age 37, 327 Hollenbach Street, Reading
- Curtis McNeill, age 31; 920 Washington Street, Apt. 2, Reading
- Felix Romero-Dejesus, age 26; 1030 1/2 Elm Street, Reading
- Mariano Cardona-Torres, age 29; 711 Walnut Street, Reading
- Adam Minngia, age 49; 703 Hillside Drive, Hamburg
- John Doe; "Lebanon"
- John Doe; "AB"
Street Level Heroin Customers:
(Charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance; Criminal Use of Communication Facility)
- Jessica Sickafus, age 24; 159 Tulpehocken Street, Bernville
- Ashley Kettering, age 24; 4227 Hill Terrace Drive, Sinking Spring
- Stephanie DiPietro, age 23; 228 West Walnut Tree Street, Blandon
- Christina Habel, age 22; 204 Nicole Drive, Reading
- Chelsea Bell, age 22; 331 South 11th Street, Reading
- Keith Becker, age 53; 721 Cocalico Drive, Birdsboro
- Nikki Swisher, age 20; 1339 Mineral Spring Avenue, Reading
- Samuel Stumhofer, age 37; 150 Upland Court, Hamburg
- Roni Fisher, age 30; 327 Lombard Street, Reading
- Margaret Murphy, age 36; 1517 Cotton Street, Reading
- Marie Castro, age 40; 205 Oley Street, Apt. 2, Reading
- Cheuy Francisco, age 22; 701 North 10th Street, rear apt., Reading
- Suliman Popal, age 28; 30 Laurel Avenue, Birdsboro
- Ellen Waruszewski, age 51; 3324 Rosedale Avenue, Laureldale
- Anthony Koullias, age 25; 1145 Penn Avenue, Apt. 2, Wyomissing
- Israel Perez-Lopez, age 28; 148 West Oley Street, Reading
- John Doe "Domino"
- John Doe "Frankie"
- John Doe "Ralphie"
- Jane Doe
** A criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
UPDATE #1: August 12, 2014
On Tuesday, August 12, 2014, Maurice Price was apprehended and arrested in Maricopa County, Arizona, by the U.S. Marshal's Task Force on gun-related offenses. Price, along with three unidentified suspects, was taken into custody at an apartment in 647 W. Baseline Road, Tempe, Arizona. Law-enforcement officers recovered numerous guns which included (an assault rifle, two Mac 10s equipped with silencers and a semi-automatic handgun), high grade marijuana, cash, and drug paraphernalia.
Maurice Price was one of four remaining fugitives from the June 24, 2014, drug round-up (Operation Tourniquet) by the Berks County Detectives and Attorney General's Office Agents.
The following individuals from Operation Tourniquet remain at large:
Staley Williams, age 37, 402 Sycamore Road, West Reading, PA
Anthony Ovid, age 39, 327 Hollenbach Street, Reading, PA
Chelsea Bell, age 22, 1453 Clair Drive, Birdsboro, PA
If anyone has any information on their whereabouts, please contact us at any of the following:
District Attorney's Detectives 610-478-7171
Crime Alert Berks County 877-373-9913
(All information leading to an arrest will be confidential)
UPDATE #2: August 14, 2014
On August 14, 2014, suspect Chelsea Bell was taken into custody and committed to Berks County Jail in lieu of $10,000.00 bail. On August 29, 2014, Chelsea Bell posted bail and was released from custody.
UPDATE #3: August 25, 2014
On August 25, 2014, suspect Anthony Ovid was taken into custody in Orange County, Florida, by the U.S. Marshal's Task Force. On September 16, 2014, he was extradited back to Berks County, PA, and committed to Berks County Jail in lieu of $100,000.00 bail. On September 26, 2014, Anthony Ovid posted bail and was released from custody
UPDATE #4: September 9, 2014
The last one of all many suspects sought in the Berks County drug raids dubbed "Operation Tourniquet" is now in custody.
On Tuesday, September 9, 2014, Special Agent Brian Hicks of the U.S. Marshal Service tracked down the suspect, Staley Williams. Williams was apprehended and placed under arrest in an apartment above the Fleetwood Grill, 24 E. Main Street, Fleetwood, PA, by the U.S. Marshal Task Force.
The investigators believe that Staley Williams was traveling between the states of Maryland and Pennsylvania attempted to evade apprehension.
Staley Williams is the last of 30 suspects who remained at large.
At this time, there are no other suspects at large related to the Operation Tourniquet investigation.