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

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November 28, 2012

Attorney General Kelly, PSP Commissioner Noonan Bucks Co. DA Heckler announce arrests in "Operation Blowout;" $3.5 million meth network

Operation Blowout ChartHARRISBURG - Attorney General Linda Kelly, Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan and Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler today announced that criminal charges have been filed against 27 people allegedly linked to a crystal methamphetamine trafficking operation that stretched from Mexico and Texas into Pennsylvania.

Kelly, Noonan and Heckler said the joint investigation, known as "Operation Blowout," identified a network of distributors and dealers responsible for transporting bulk quantities of meth into Reading and Philadelphia - as much as a pound of drugs every two weeks.  The meth was then repackaged into smaller quantities and resold by various associates in an area stretching from Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley all the way to Lycoming and Tioga counties, near the New York State border in north-central Pennsylvania.

Evidence and testimony was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended that criminal charges be filed against the 27 individuals allegedly involved in this drug distribution organization.

During the course of the investigation, agents from the Attorney General's Office, State Troopers and Bucks County Detectives used surveillance and court-authorized wiretaps, along with more than 30 undercover drug buys and controlled purchases to identify various suppliers, distributors and dealers connected to the organization. 

The grand jury found that many of the individuals linked to the organization used coded terms to discuss drug transactions by telephone - often referring to quarter-ounce quantities of meth as "tires" and one ounce quantities as a "set of tires."

Kelly, Noonan and Heckler said the investigation centered on the activities of Robert H. Snyder, of Pottstown and Wesley B. White, of Roaring Branch (Tioga County).

According to the grand jury, Snyder was receiving bulk quantities of meth from sources in Mexico.  The drugs were allegedly moved across the U.S. border to McAllen, Texas, and then transported to a source in Reading, identified as Raul Cosme.

Kelly said that Snyder allegedly supplied methamphetamine to White, who is accused of using a number of dealers and associates in Berks and Tioga counties to sell the drugs, including Joseph Ragnoli, John Taylor, Dean Bowers, Scott Hopkinson and Marlere Albrecht.

Additionally, the grand jury found that Snyder was also supplying meth to Judson Route, of Roaring Branch, Tioga County, along with Jeffrey Terry, of Boyertown, Berks County.

Kelly, Noonan and Heckler said that Wesley White also allegedly obtained meth from another source, identified as John S. Hodgson, of Levittown.  In addition to supplying White, Hodgson is accused of working with at least six other individuals to sell meth in Bucks County, exchanging drugs for cash or sexual favors.

The grand jury identified individuals accused of working with John Hodgson, including his brother, Joseph Hodgson, along with John McDonald, Sherwood White, Nancy Diaz, Tina Erb and Elizabeth Naylon.

Kelly, Noonan and Heckler said that investigators tracked Hodgson's supply of meth to a Philadelphia man, Francis Gulich.  In addition to providing ounce or pound quantities of drugs to Hodgson, Gulich allegedly worked with several other individuals to resell the drugs in Philadelphia and Bucks County, including Mark Kasper, Barbara Kasper, Philip Tomasella, Alexander Shepelenko, Joseph Bonger and James Simmer.

As the investigation continued, the ultimate source of the crystal meth distributed by Gulich and Hodgson was identified as Sim Bradley, of Philadelphia. Bradley is also accused of supplying meth to two other Bucks County men - Grady Dennis, of Willow Grove and Lee Wasser, of Perkasie.

Kelly, Noonan and Heckler said that during a September 2012 search executed at Sim Bradley's home agents seized 173 grams of crystal meth and approximately $20,000 in cash.

Over the course of the entire investigation, agents and troopers executed nearly 30 search warrants, seizing approximately four pounds of crystal meth, one partially dismantled meth lab, nearly 100 firearms, $110,000 in cash, and 16 vehicles, along with drug packaging materials, containers used to hide drugs and records indicating drug sales and money owed for various purchases.

Between 2007 and 2011 Kelly, Noonan and Heckler say the organization is believed to be responsible for the distribution and sale of in excess of $3.5 million worth of crystal meth in southeastern and northern Pennsylvania.

The defendants will be prosecuted in Bucks County by Chief Deputy Attorney General Andrew M. Rongaus of the Attorney General's Drug Strike Force Section.

Kelly, Noonan and Heckler thanked the following agencies for their cooperation and assistance with the investigation and arrests: Philadelphia Police Department, Athens Township Police Department, Bristol Township Police Department, Doylestown Township Police Department, Muhlenberg Police Department, New Hanover Police Department, Oley Township Police Department, Pottstown Police Department, Montgomery Township Police Department in Montgomery County New Jersey, The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration - Philadelphia Division, U.S. Federal Probation Department and Delaware State Police.

A list of the defendants and the charges filed against them is included below:

Robert H. Snyder, 53, 136 South 8th St., Pottstown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 20 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, unlawful possession of a firearm, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Wesley B. White, 53, 972 Route 14, Roaring Branch, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 20 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Raul Cosme, 38, 33895 Fox Glove Run, Milford, Delaware, is charged with is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 20 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Sherwood W. White, 63, 2408 East Ave., Levittown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, two counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

John S. Hodgson, 62, 2408 East Ave., Levittown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 20 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Francis Gulich, 62, 1939 Grant Ave., Philadelphia, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 20 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Sim Bradley, 72, 7433 Walnut Lane, Philadelphia, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 20 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Marlene A. Albrecht, 46, 508 Keystone Drive, Dublin, Bristol, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 6 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Joseph C. Bogner, 47, 1045 Bath Road, Bristol, is charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, unlawful use of a communications facility and related offenses.

Dean Bowers, 46, 4605 Landisville Road, Doylestown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 16 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Grady L. Dennis Jr., 46, 8633 Michener Ave., Philadelphia, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 2 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Nancy M. Diaz, 53, 16 Petunia Road, Levittown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 12 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Joseph R. Hodgson, 65, 1034 Cultipacker Road, Yardley, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Scott A. Hopkinson Sr., 42, 10 Horseshoe Lane, Levittown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 9 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Barbara Kasper, 39, 169 Cobalt Ridge Drive South, Levittown, is charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance.

Mark W. Kasper, 39, 169 South Cobalt Ridge Road, Levittown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 2 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

John McDonald, 61, formerly of Morrisville, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 2 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Elizabeth J. Naylon, 46, 96 Eisenhard Drive, Ivyland, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 13 counts of possession of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Joseph M. Ragnoli, 44, 4237 Smith Road, Wycombe, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 21 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Judson R. Route, 52, 2013 Ogdensburg Road, Roaring Branch, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 7 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Alexander Schepelenko, 66, 50 Dieter Ave., Morrisville, is charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, unlawful use of a communications facility and related offenses.

James Howard Simmers Sr., 34 Gamewood Road, Levittown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 2 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

John D. Taylor, 53, 27 Buttonwood Road, Churchville, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 16 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Jeffrey A. Terry, 53, 30 Ginger Lane, Alsace Township, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 11 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Philip M. Tomasella, 40, 11 Echo Lane, Levittown, is charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, unlawful use of a communications facility and related offenses.

Tina Marie Wagner-Erb, 51, 6279 Hulmeville Road, Bensalem, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 8 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Lee Scott Wasser, 47, 205 Goldenrod Court, Perkasie, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 2 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

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