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

April 17, 2013

$7 million Mexico-to-Lehigh Valley meth ring broken up

HARRISBURG - A crystal methamphetamine ring, which stretched from Mexico to the Lehigh Valley, and allegedly distributed $7 million worth of crystal meth over the past five years, has been broken up by state narcotics agents. Twenty-three suspected drug dealers and traffickers are charged as a result of the 15-month investigation.

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Gary Kuehner

 
Michael Lehreman

 
Carmen
Wahlfeld

 
Pawel Gajewski

 
Robert Nigro

 
Scott Morgan

 
Lyle Dietz

 
Kimberly Kerstetter

 
John
Kerstetter

 
James Schwar

 
Matthew Baker

 
Mark Balas

 
Shane Wechsler

 
Michael Stroh

 
Michael Gaspar

 
Diana Southard

 
Robert Wells

 
Steven Keeler

 
Todd Bohlen

 
Brian Ehret

 
Justin Taglioli

 
Zackery Quaye

 
Dean Desantis

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane identified the leaders of the organization as Gary Kuehner of Bethlehem, Lehigh County and Michael Lehrman of Danielsville, Northampton County. Evidence and testimony regarding the alleged drug trafficking was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended that criminal charges be filed.

The grand jury found that Carmen Wahlfeld secured large amounts of crystal methamphetamine from a source in Mexico and delivered the drugs to a location in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it was packaged and shipped through FedEx to the Lehigh Valley.

According to the grand jury, shipments were made to Pawel Gajewski, who then supplied the crystal meth to Kuehner.  Kuehner and Scott Morgan allegedly distributed crystal methamphetamine to customers throughout Lehigh and Northampton counties.

Agents estimate that the organization is responsible for distributing at least four pounds of crystal methamphetamine a month with an estimated street value totaling $7 million over the past five years.

"The time for denying that Mexican drug trafficking organizations are working in Pennsylvania is over," Kane said. "People can no longer afford to bury their heads in the sand, denying that this problem exists. My office has taken action and we are committed to removing this threat to our communities."

As the investigation progressed, court authorized wiretaps were approved to determine the scope of the organization and to help identify suppliers. 

Through the use of the wiretaps, agents were able to determine that the organization also sold marijuana throughout the Lehigh Valley. Kuehner, allegedly a major supplier of this marijuana, obtained the drugs from James "Jimbo" Schwar.

Over the course of the investigation agents recovered 103 handguns and rifles, $49,000 cash, six cars, four motorcycles, a four wheeler, as well as various amounts of drug paraphernalia.

Kane noted that the investigation is ongoing.

Below is a complete list of the defendants and the charges against them.

--Gary Kuehner, 32, 1126 West Union Blvd., Bethlehem, Lehigh County, is charged with 10 counts of unlawful delivery or manufacture of a controlled substance, five counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

--Michael Lehreman, 45, 3828 Dogwood Road, Danielsville, Northampton County, is charged with 13 counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, one count of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

--Carmen Wahlfeld, 49, 3175 Cauby St., Apt. 24, San Diego, CA, is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

--Pawel Gajewski, 36, 4490 Run Road, New Tripoli, Lehigh County, is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activites.

--Robert Nigro, 51, 616 Skyline Dr., Apt. 1, Allentown, Lehigh County, is charged with five counts of possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

--Scott Morgan, 32, 2724 Mosser St., Allentown, Lehigh County, is charged with seven counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, five counts of unlawful delivery or manufacture of a controlled substance, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activites.

--Lyle Dietz, 58, 6172 Airport Road, Allentown, Lehigh County, is charged with three counts of corrupt organizations, three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

--Kimberly Kerstetter, 39, 5100 Huckleberry Road, Orefield, Lehigh County, is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of endangering the welfare of children, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

--John Kerstetter, 38, 5100 Huckleberry Road, Orefield, Lehigh County, is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, two counts of endangering welfare of children, and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--James "Jimbo" Schwar, 35, 359 Main St., Apt. 1, Red Hill, Montgomery County, is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

--Matthew Baker, 31, 1343 Maple St., Allentown, Lehigh County, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of unlawful delivery or manufacture of a controlled substance, one count of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Mark Balas, 38, 4408 N. Church St., Whitehall, Lehigh County, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver.

--Shane Wechsler, 38, 4640 Lehigh Drive, Walnutport, Northampton County, is charged with one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

--Michael Stroh, 51, 231 S. Walnut St., Slatington, Lehigh County, is charged with one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

--Michael Gaspar, 37, 551 Bauer Road, Bath, Northampton County, is charged with one count of endangering the welfare of children, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

--Diana Southard, 44, 6780 Hanover St., Bethlehem, Lehigh County, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess a controlled substance, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of possession of a controlled substance, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

--Robert Wells, 44, RT 940, PO Box 2119, Pocono Pines, Monroe County, is charged with one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

--Steven Keeler, 37, 3865 Cedar Drive, Walnutport, Northampton County, is charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Todd Bohlen, 52, 4179 Kozy Korner Road, Center Valley, Lehigh County, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of possession of a controlled substance, and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Brian Ehret, 43, 8439 Orchard Road, Zionsville, Lehigh County, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

--Justin Taglioli, 34, 108 Macungie Ave., Emmaus, Lehigh County, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

--Zackery Quaye, 34, 703 E. Cumberland St., Allentown, Lehigh County, is charged with four counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

--Dean Desantis, 51, 32 Bedle St., Belle Mead, NJ, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

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

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