Father and Son Stole City Block Corners To Rent to Criminals, Brought in as much as $30,000 a Week
HARRISBURG—Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that the Office of Attorney General has shut down a massive operation in Kensington. The ringleaders of this organization stole city block corners from this community to rent for profit to drug dealers looking to sell poisons and spread violence.
The operation was run by Curtis Coates, Sr. and Curtis Coates, Jr., father and son. Coates Jr. collected the money for Coates, Sr., who charged dealers as much as $3,000 per block. The six-month investigation, conducted by the Office of Attorney General’s Kensington Initiative, resulted in the arrests of 23 individuals, including Coates Sr. and Coates Jr. Agents also seized 29 firearms including 3 assault rifles, 2,489 grams, or 82,966 doses, of heroin/fentanyl, 47 grams of meth, and $179,000 in cash.
“Coates and his son stole public city block corners and rented them for profit to drug dealers,” said AG Shapiro. “These are corners children wait for buses on, corners you cross to get to work. And they stole them and rented them for top dollar to bring poison and violence into these neighborhoods. Through this operation, we’ve taken back these corners stolen from this community.”
Launched in 2018, the Kensington Initiative is a unique partnership between local, state, and federal law enforcement to target major criminal drug organizations in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia.
On Wednesday, June 8, 2022, agents and officers from the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigations, Gun Violence Task Force, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Philadelphia Police Department, FBI, SEPTA Special Operations Response Team, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Pennsylvania State Police, and the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Department executed more than 40 search warrants on affiliated properties and vehicles.
“This is the largest one-day coordinated operation since the Kensington Initiative’s launch,” said AG Shapiro. “And it’s another example of taking these organizations down from the top. My office is dedicated to protecting the public and to not leaving a single block behind.”
The 23 individuals, including Coates Sr. and his son Coates Jr., have been charged with Possession with intent to distribute, Corrupt Organizations, Conspiracy, Dealing in Illegal proceeds, and Criminal Use of Communications Facility. Eight of those individuals received additional charges for persons not to possess a firearm.
These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Melissa Francis. All charges are accusations. The defendants are innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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