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

  

Attorney General Kane's office cripples Western Pa. heroin trafficking ring run by alleged California gang member




Jose Luis Pena-Montes

 

 
Robert Carpenter

 
Marquis Farrow

 
Lee Jay Burke

 
Henry Boynes

 
Darrick Lamon Curington

 
Troy Edward Dawkins

 
Conroy Alvin Griffie



Frank Andrew Teamor

 
Paul Perminter Jr

 
David D. Lee

 
Anel Christina Mendivil

 
Lawrence G. Stephens Jr

 

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today announced charges against 13 suspected members of a heroin trafficking organization that operated in Pittsburgh and Beaver County with ties to a southern California street gang.

Kane said the charges are the result of a year-long investigation that focused on the alleged heroin trafficking of Jose Luis Pena-Montes, Robert Carpenter, Marquis Farrow and 10 others that resulted in the seizure of more than four kilograms of heroin, $300,000 in cash and six firearms including a semi-automatic rifle.

Evidence and testimony were presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the criminal charges.

"This investigation has virtually every element of a major Mexico-to-U.S. drug trafficking ring," said Senior Executive Deputy Attorney General Joe Peters. "It involves individuals with lengthy criminal records, firearms, large sums of cash and a gang member from California trafficking Mexico-produced narcotics in our communities.

"The U.S.-Mexico border may seem like it is thousands of miles away but even as far north as Pennsylvania, gangs and cartels find ways to expand their trade," he said. 

The investigation, known as "Operation Southern Stash," revealed that Robert Carpenter, who was on federal supervision for a drug trafficking conviction, was the alleged local distributor of raw heroin agents suspect came from Mexico and was supplied by alleged ring leader Jose Luis "Troop" Pena-Montes.

Pena-Montes is reported to be a member of the Surenos (meaning "Southerner") street gang that began as a prison gang of people with ties to southern Mexico who settled in southern California.

Pena-Montes allegedly directed Hispanic drug couriers to deliver the heroin to Carpenter, who then distributed the narcotic in and around Pittsburgh to a trusted circle of drug traffickers, including Marquis Farrow, according to investigators.

Court authorized wiretaps were approved in December 2012 for Farrow's two cell phones and in January for Carpenter's three cell phones. The defendants discussed the purchase, prices and amounts of heroin they sold, the methods of operating the heroin trafficking business and directed "runners" to conduct street-level sales. 

Agents said in January, Carpenter and Pena-Montes negotiated a payment of $300,000 Pena-Montes said would be collected by a money courier he would fly to Pittsburgh. Carpenter argued that the courier, Anel Christina Mendivil, would not be able to travel with such a large sum of cash but once she arrived in Pittsburgh, Carpenter and Mendivil bundled it for her flight back to California. The two were shopping for additional luggage to transport the cash on January 31, 2013 when they were detained until agents from the Attorney General's office could begin executing search warrants for the residences of several of the defendants' homes.

On February 1, 2013, agents seized more than four kilograms of heroin, cocaine and $214,000 from Carpenter's three residences. Agents also disabled an active heroin processing mill on Halsey Place on the city's North Side that was Farrow's "stash" house and the residence of runner Lee Burke. At the stash house, agents seized raw and mixed heroin, bundles stamped "Fire" for street sales, a stolen .45 pistol and two military armor jackets.

More  than 180 bags of heroin stamped "Good Work," a .22-caliber rifle, two 30-round magazines and a loaded 9 mm pistol were seized by agents the following day at the residence and stash house of Henry "Dank" Boynes.

Search warrants at other locations yielded additional stamp bags of heroin, cash, two 9 mm pistols, a revolver pistol, extra magazines and ammunition, and a stun gun.

Kane said Anel Mendivil was arrested Monday in Glendale, Calif. by the U.S. Marshals Service and is being held at the Los Angeles County jail without bail pending extradition to Pennsylvania.

"The Office of Attorney General will continue to collaborate with local and national law enforcement agencies to follow the money derived from illegal drug trafficking, bring criminals to justice and cripple drug trafficking rings," said Peters.

The remaining eleven suspects were arraigned by Magisterial District Justice Mary P. Murray. They will be prosecuted in Allegheny County by Deputy Attorney General Marnie Sheehan-Balchon of the Attorney General's Drug Strike Force Section.

Kane thanked the City of Pittsburgh Police Department, Sewickley Police Department, Harmony Township Police Department, Whitaker Borough Police Department, Ambridge Borough Police Department, Munhall Borough Police Department, Cranberry Township Police Department, City of Clairton Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Marshals Service.

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

Jose Luis Pena-Montes, 44, is charged with two counts of criminal conspiracy, two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, one count of delivery of heroin and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity. Pena-Montes is a Mexican national without legal status and has been convicted on at least five occasions for illegal re-entry after deportation.  He has also been arrested and convicted in California for DUI and for felony firearms offenses.  
  
Robert Lamont Carpenter, 46, is charged with three counts of delivery of heroin, three counts of possession with the intent to deliver heroin, two counts of criminal conspiracy and two counts of participating in a corrupt organization.

Marquis Farrow, 30, is charged with nine counts of delivery of heroin, five counts of possession with the intent to deliver heroin, two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, one count of criminal conspiracy and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity.

Lee Jay Burke, 48, is charged with nine counts of delivery of heroin, five counts of possession with the intent to deliver heroin, two counts of participating in a corrupt organization and two counts of criminal conspiracy. Burke was convicted in 1995 of Aggravated Assault in Allegheny County. He is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Henry Clay Boynes, 34, is charged with four counts of possession with the intent to deliver heroin, one count of possession with the intent to deliver Methylone, two counts of criminal conspiracy and two counts of participating in a corrupt organization. Boynes was arrested in 2003 by the DEA for heroin trafficking and was sentenced to 151 months incarceration followed by five years of supervised release. He is currently on federal supervised release until 2017. He is precluded from possessing a firearm.

Darrick Lamon Curington, 36, is charged with two counts of criminal conspiracy.

Troy Edward Dawkins, 45, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization and two counts of criminal conspiracy. Dawkins was arrested in 2003 by the DEA for narcotics trafficking and was sentenced to 18 months incarceration. He is currently on federal supervised release.

Conroy Alvin Griffie, 56, is charged with six counts of possession with the intent to deliver heroin, two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, two counts of criminal conspiracy and one count of persons not to possess a firearm. Griffie was convicted in the 90?s of Criminal Attempt Homicide in Beaver County and was sentenced to six to 18 years in prison. He is precluded from possessing a firearm.
 
David D. Lee, 58, is charged with two counts of possession with the intent to deliver heroin, two counts of participating in a corrupt organization and two counts of criminal conspiracy.

Anel Christina Mendivil, 31, is charged with two counts of criminal conspiracy and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity.

Paul Perminter Jr., 43, is charged with four counts of possession with the intent to deliver heroin, one count of delivery of heroin, two counts of participating in a corrupt organization and two counts of criminal conspiracy.

Lawrence G. Stephens Jr., 30, is charged with one count of possession with the intent to deliver heroin, two counts of participating in a corrupt organization and two counts of criminal conspiracy.

Frank Andrew Teamor, 28, is charged with one count of possession with the intent to deliver heroin.

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

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