Attorney General, FBI Collaboration Halts Major Philadelphia-Based Cocaine Trafficking Operation with 17 Arrests, Seizures of 15 Guns

April 11, 2024 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Michelle Henry, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that a months-long investigation led to arrests this week of 17 alleged traffickers as well as seizures of numerous illegally-possessed firearms, drugs, and cash.

The Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigations and FBI conducted search and arrest operations Tuesday in Philadelphia and surrounding areas.

Vincent Lofton, 60, one of the alleged heads of the trafficking network, was arrested, along with 16 other people at various locations. Lofton was arraigned Wednesday and bail was set at $1 million.

Investigators served more than a dozen search warrants at residences and additional warrants on vehicles and a financial institution.

“Collaboration and coordination between law enforcement thwarted a sophisticated, upper-level trafficking ring that was constantly bringing large quantities of narcotics to the Commonwealth,” Attorney General Henry said. “We know of the devastation these addictive substances cause, as well as the direct threats posed to communities by traffickers who use guns to protect their trade. Law enforcement is stronger when allied with partner agencies committed to protecting Pennsylvanians and their families.”

“Operations such as this underscores our determination in disrupting and dismantling drug trafficking organizations that bring narcotics into our community,” said Wayne A. Jacobs, special agent in charge of FBI Philadelphia. “We would like to thank our law enforcement partners for their continued collaboration and for making our state a bit safer today.”

Over the course of the investigation, 17 individuals were arrested and charged. They are: Lofton, Jose Escobedo, Tamika Leggett, Haneefah Gladden, Charressa Hopkins, Shanice Lofton, Kiyon Dennis, Bruce Rozier, Shawn Grady, Victor Christmas, Robert Nelson, Phillip Jackson, Nymir Brown, Steven Pittman, Dante Primo, Philip Curtis, and Anthony Jones.

Agents seized 15 firearms (10 handguns and 5 long guns); nearly 10 pounds of powder and crack cocaine; 33 pounds of marijuana; other narcotics, paraphernalia, and cutting agents; $65,630 cash.

The Office of Attorney General and Federal Bureau of Investigation were assisted by law enforcement partners from the Philadelphia Police Department, Philadelphia Sheriff’s Department, Radnor Township Police Department, Borough of Hatboro Police Department, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, Burlington County (N.J.) Prosecutor’s Office, and Pennsylvania State Police.

The cases will be prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Daniel Sweeney of the Office of Attorney General Drug Strike Force Section. All charges are accusations. The defendants are innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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