Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General

 

   _ Click for the Spanish Translation video_top_story


September 19, 2008

Attorney General Corbett announces arrests in multi-million dollar Mexico to Philly meth ring

PHILADELPHIA -A multi-million dollar meth organization, responsible for trafficking as much as $6.6 million worth of crystal methamphetamine from Mexico to Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, was broken up today by agents from the Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation (BNI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Philadelphia Field Office Group One. 

Attorney General Tom Corbett said the investigation, known as "Operation Broken Doll," began in January 2008 after agents received evidence that Christopher McDaniel was selling crystal methamphetamine in the Philadelphia area.

Corbett said that between January and March 2008, BNI and DEA agents arranged a series of controlled purchases of methamphetamine from McDaniel.

As the investigation unfolded, court authorized state wiretaps were approved in March 2008 to determine the scope of the organization and help identify suppliers.  The investigation was placed before a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended the charges being filed today.

Through the use of the wiretaps, agents identified McDaniel's supplier as Estela "Monica" Elenes, who ran a Mexican drug organization from Culiacan, Mexico, before her capture and murder by Mexican drug cartels.  

According to the grand jury, McDaniel received pound quantities of crystal methamphetamine from Mexico and then sold the crystal methamphetamine to individuals involved in the drug enterprise in Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery and Chester counties.

"This organization worked like a well oiled machine," Corbett said. "After a call was placed to Mexico, meth was packaged and transported across the border into California, where other members of the organization were waiting to package the drug for shipment to Philadelphia."

As the investigation progressed, agents learned that after the crystal methamphetamine was transported to California, it was packaged and concealed inside porcelain dolls, in pound quantities.  The dolls were then shipped to Philadelphia via a commercial shipping company.

The grand jury found that Flor Amaya was a key player in the Mexican supply end of the operation and allegedly travelled across the country to complete methamphetamine transactions.

According to the grand jury, in a span of only three days, Amaya flew into Philadelphia International Airport, visited McDaniel's residence, then flew into Phoenix, Arizona, Los Angeles, and then to Mexico.

Grand jury testimony revealed that Amaya's trip to Philadelphia was for the sole purpose of picking up $15,000 in cash as payment from a previous crystal methamphetamine shipment.

Corbett said that once Amaya had the cash, she immediately traveled back to the west coast and allegedly shipped another pound of meth from Chino, California to Philadelphia.

According to agents, the majority of methamphetamine shipments were sent to Ben's Shoes, 231 Market St., Philadelphia. McDaniel's Philadelphia associates routinely picked the dolls up at the shoe store and then delivered the shipments to McDaniel's residence for repackaging and further distribution. 

On April 12, 2008, BNI and DEA agents executed a series of search warrants that uncovered evidence of McDaniel's vast drug enterprise.  Agents seized two porcelain dolls each containing one pound of crystal methamphetamine, from outside of McDaniel's residence and five porcelain dolls with the backs broken out from inside McDaniel's residence.  Agents believe that these dolls contained pound quantities of crystal methamphetamine shipped to McDaniel from "Monica".09-19-2008 Opr Baby Doll

As the investigation progressed agents were able to identify mid-level members of the McDaniel organization as Michael McElroy, James "Jimmy Nut" Ballezzi and Joseph "Kokomo Joe" Brabazon. These individuals helped McDaniel with the daily drug operations and frequently delivered crystal methamphetamine and also assisted with the packaging and shipment of money and wire transfers back to McDaniel's supplier in Mexico.

According to the grand jury, McDaniel received at least seven shipments of crystal methamphetamine over the course of the investigation and distributed at least seven pounds of crystal meth.

Corbett said that McDaniel allegedly paid "Monica" $22,000 per pound and netted a profit of approximately $13,000 per pound after he resold the meth.

Over the course of this investigation, agents estimate that this organization was responsible for the distribution of over 100 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, valued at approximately $6.6 million.

Corbett noted that agents learned on June 20, 2008 that "Monica" was kidnapped by four unknown men armed with rifles believed to be AK-47 and AR-15 assault weapons in Badiraguato, Sinaloa Province, Mexico. 

Law enforcement sources indicated that "Monica" was found decapitated and shot several times in the head.  Her body was found on a roadway near the burned out SUV's believed to have been used to kidnap her. 

It is believed that she was one of 19 individuals murdered by Mexican drug cartels in the Culiacan, Mexico area that weekend and that her death is in part related to her involvement in this crystal methamphetamine distribution organization.

"This investigation was a great success because it left no stone unturned, DEA Special Agent Timothy Ogden said.  "It not only dismantled this significant crystal methamphetamine organization that spread poison throughout the Philadelphia area but it also brought to justice those responsible for the importation of the drugs in California and Mexico."

Corbett noted that this continues to be part of a continuing investigation.

Corbett thanked DEA Philadelphia Office Group One, the Philadelphia Police Department, Chester County Sheriff Carolyn "Bunny" Welsh and Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll for their assistance with the investigation.

The case will be prosecuted in Chester County by Deputy Attorney General Andrew Rongaus of the Attorney General's Drug Strike Force.

A complete list of the defendants and the charges against them is below.

--Christopher McDaniel, 54, 836 S. 2nd St., Philadelphia, is charged with 13 counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crystal methamphetamine, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Estela "Monica" Elenes, deceased, Mexico, would have been charged with 13 counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crystal methamphetamine, one count of criminal conspiracy,  one count of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Flor Amaya, 31, of Chino, California, is charged with two counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crystal methamphetamine, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Michael McElroy, 30, 111 Charles Street, Southampton, PA, is charged with two counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crystal methamphetamine, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of corrupt organizations and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Lenora Trombley, 21, 470 Indian Run Road, Glenmoore, PA, is charged with two counts of dealing in unlawful proceeds, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of corrupt organizations and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Joseph "Kokomo Joe" Brabazon, 34, 8239 Frankfort Ave, Philadelphia, PA, is charged with 10 counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crystal methamphetamine, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of corrupt organizations, one count of dealing in unlawful proceeds and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--James "Jimmy Nutt" Ballezzi, 46, 1318 Warnock Street, Philadelphia, PA, is charged with nine counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crystal methamphetamine, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of corrupt organizations and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Joseph Scavetti, 29, 2444 S. 10th Street, Philadelphia, PA, is charged with four counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crystal methamphetamine, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of corrupt organizations and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Nicholas Miller, 25, 4 Highland Court, Downingtown, PA, is charged with two counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crystal methamphetamine, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of corrupt organizations and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Charles Blosenski Jr., 43, 11 Coventry Cove, Elverson, PA, is charged with four counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crystal methamphetamine, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of corrupt organizations and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Charles "Chaz" Iannece, 50, 719 S. 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA, is charged with two counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crystal methamphetamine, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of corrupt organizations and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Frank Piccolo, 27, 2622 S. 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA, is charged with two counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of anabolic steroids, one count of criminal conspiracy, one count of corrupt organizations and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

--Kenneth Baker, 57, 3 Harvin Road, Upper Darby, PA, is charged with two counts of possession of crystal methamphetamine and one count of criminal conspiracy.

--Gabriel Blackstone, 34, 366 Cherry Wood Drive, Clementon, N.J, is charged with two counts of possession of anabolic steroids and one count of criminal conspiracy.


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

# # #