July 18, 2012
Multi-million dollar Berks County cocaine ring broken-up by state and local narcotics detectives
HARRISBURG - A multi-million dollar cocaine ring, which operated throughout Berks County, was broken-up today by agents from the Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation (BNI) and detectives from the Berks County District Attorney's Office.
Attorney General Linda Kelly identified the leader of the organization as Todd Talarico, 50, 79 Yorkshire Road, Mohnton, Berks County.
Evidence and testimony regarding the alleged cocaine distribution was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges being filed today.
According to the grand jury, Talarico's organization distributed between one and two kilograms of cocaine per month over the course of the past five years, with an estimated street value of between $6 and $12 million.
The grand jury found that Talarico used his Berks County paint shop, 33 West Lancaster Ave., Shillington as a front for his cocaine distribution.
Over the course of the investigation agents and detectives made a series of controlled cocaine purchases from Talarico and were able to identify two associates in his drug enterprise; Jolynn Michalowski and Cynthia MacDonald.
"Drug organizations are like ladders with supply sources at the top, middle level dealers below them, and street-level users at the bottom," Kelly said. "Today?s arrests take out the middle rung of the ladder, but this continues to be part of an ongoing investigation and additional arrests are anticipated."
Kelly thanked Berks County District Attorney John Adams, Chief County Detective Michael Gombar, the Spring Township Police Department and Chief Bryan Ross for their assistance with the investigation.
The case will be prosecuted in Berks County by Deputy Attorney General Michael Dugan of the Attorney General's Drug Strike Force.
Below is a complete list of the defendants and the charges against them.
--Todd Talarico, 50, 79 Yorkshire Road, Mohnton, Berks County, is charged with 13 counts of delivery of cocaine, 12 counts of unlawful possession of cocaine, two counts of corrupt organization, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
--Jolynn Michalowski, 46, 79 Yorkshire Road, Mohnton, Berks County, is charged with two counts of delivery of cocaine, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of unlawful possession of cocaine, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.
--Cynthia MacDonald, 53, 552 Vermont Road, Mohnton, Berks County, is charged with three counts of delivery of cocaine, two counts of unlawful possession of cocaine, two counts of corrupt organizations, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity.
(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)
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