Kathleen G. Kane - Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General - Protecting Pennsylvanians

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June 17, 2008

Attorney General agents arrest 11 people in an investigation into a drug operation responsible for the distribution of 35 kilos of cocaine

06-17-08 Opr Ticket brokerPHILADELPHIA - Agents from the Attorney General's office, along with the Philadelphia Police Department, have dismantled a highly organized, large-scale, Philadelphia-based cocaine organization allegedly responsible for the distribution of more than 35 kilos of cocaine over the past seven years.

Attorney General Tom Corbett said that the investigation known as "Operation Ticket Broker" began when Attorney General agents made a series of controlled undercover buys of cocaine beginning in January of 2007, which led to consensually recorded telephone conversations, physical surveillance and, eventually, court-authorized wiretaps from June 2007 to September 2007.

Corbett said that the wiretaps helped identify working relationships and played a key role in revealing the size and scope of the organization.

Evidence and testimony regarding the drug organization was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges being filed today.

According to the grand jury, Will Caraballo was the leader and supplier of this highly organized cocaine operation where each of the 11 people charged had their own roles and responsibilities within the organization. 

Corbett said that the Bella Rosa II Bar and Grill at 1712 S. 10th St. in Philadelphia was one of the primary locations from which this group sold cocaine.  Joseph DeJesus allegedly headed the distribution scheme at the bar and had Steve Berti and Joseph Capparella working for him, dealing cocaine from the bar.

According to the grand jury, Caraballo not only had DeJesus working under him selling cocaine out of the bar, he also had others working under him repackaging large amounts of cocaine for re-distribution.

According to the grand jury, there were at least six times that an entire kilo was broken down and repackaged for distribution.  Wayne Henderson, David Duncan, Edward Kranicki and Nestor Torres all allegedly worked to repackage large quantities of cocaine for Caraballo, many times at Karen Fedrick's home at 2443 S. Lee St. Philadelphia.  Henderson also allegedly had his own customer base to which he would sell cocaine that he had purchased from Caraballo.

Corbett said that Dana Coppertino, along with her young child, lived with DeJesus.  Coppertino allegedly delivered cocaine to the Bella Rosa under the direction of DeJesus; and on one instance brought the child along on the delivery.  She also allegedly allowed individuals into the house to repackage and pick up cocaine.
  
According to the grand jury, DeJesus also used Gloria Richards' residence as a storage location for substantial amounts of cocaine.  She also allegedly transported cocaine to and from the Bella Rosa for him.

The grand jury found that there was a steady stream of cocaine being distributed from the Bella Rosa; and on at least one occasion, DeJesus also sold a firearm along with the cocaine.

Corbett said this was especially unsettling because the Bella Rosa is located less than 200 feet from a high school.

"We are always committed to keeping drugs off the streets of our communities," Corbett said.  "But it is especially important to keep our children safe from the harmful effects of drugs and drug-related violence."

The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned and will be prosecuted in Philadelphia County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Heather Castellino of the Attorney General's Organized Crime Section.

Corbett noted that this is part of a continuing investigation.

Corbett thanked the Philadelphia Police Department for their assistance with the investigation.

Below is a full list of the defendants and the charges against them:

Will Caraballo, 39, 1919 Ritner St., Philadelphia, is charged with 11 counts of delivery of cocaine, three counts of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Joseph DeJesus, 48, 2411 S. Third St., Philadelphia, is charged with 11 counts of delivery of cocaine, three counts of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of firearms not to be carried without a license, one count of illegal sale or transfer of firearms, one count of person not to possess, use, manufacturer, control, sell or transfer firearms and one count of carrying firearms on public streets or public property in Philadelphia.

Steve Berti
, 37, 3922 Gateway Towers Center, Apt 4B, Philadelphia, is charged with three counts of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, two counts of delivery of cocaine, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Joseph Capparella, 31, 937 Watkins St., Philadelphia, is charged with three counts of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, two counts of delivery of cocaine, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Wayne Henderson, 39, 149 Gladstone St., Philadelphia, is charged with three counts of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Edward Kranicki, 46, 247 Dickinson St., Philadelphia, is charged with three counts of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Nestor Torres, 44, 5910 Hegerman St., Philadelphia, is charged with three counts of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Dave Duncan, 38, 2450 S. Second St., Philadelphia, is charged with three counts of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Karen Fedrick, 34, 1316 S. Seventh St., Philadelphia, is charged with three counts of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, two counts of corrupt organizations and one count of criminal conspiracy.

Gloria Richards
, 47, 1119 Mifflin St., Philadelphia, is charged with three counts of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Dana Coppertino
, 35, 2411 S. Third St., Philadelphia, is charged with two counts of possession with intent to deliver cocaine, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of delivery of cocaine, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of endangering welfare of children and one count of corruption of minors.


(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)

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