Office of Attorney General, Pennsylvania State Police Arrest Seven in Connection with Philadelphia Drug-Trafficking Operation

October 6, 2023 | Topic: Criminal

Xylazine, fentanyl, heroin, and stolen guns seized

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Michelle Henry, and the Pennsylvania State Police, announced charges this week against seven individuals in connection with a Philadelphia drug-trafficking operation involving xylazine, fentanyl, heroin, cocaine, and several firearms.

The collaborative investigation culminated in searches, at residences and in vehicles, that uncovered significant amounts of narcotics, including the deadly cutting agent, xylazine, as well as cash and firearms.

Elijah Sharpe, 23, and Cristopher Rios De Jesus, 30, are the alleged heads of the organization. They were charged with multiple counts of possession with intent to deliver, corrupt organizations, criminal use of a communication facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds, and criminal conspiracy.

Also charged were Luis Vicente Arzeno and Julio Valdez-Pimentel, also known as Fernando Julio, the alleged suppliers to the organization, and three street dealers, Frank Myers, Josue Vazquez Martinez, and Michael Rodriguez Ojeda. All defendants reside in Philadelphia.

The defendants were arraigned Thursday.

“Thanks to strong collaboration with our law enforcement partners, we shut down a major trafficking operation that presented a dangerous threat to Philadelphians. This group pushed deadly substances into Philadelphia, and used firearms to protect their illegal trade,” said Attorney General Henry. “This was a complex joint investigation that involved multiple agencies coming together to remove these dealers from the streets and keep Pennsylvanians safe.”

“Removing dangerous drugs like xylazine and fentanyl from our streets is paramount in ensuring public safety,” said Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Colonel Christopher Paris. “The hard work and cooperation between agencies in shutting down this large trafficking operation is not only commendable, but it may have saved lives.”

Members of the Pennsylvania State Police, the Office of Attorney General Bureau of Narcotics Investigations and Drug Control, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Philadelphia Police Department recovered approximately 7.1 kilograms of xylazine, 688 grams of heroin, 398 grams of fentanyl, 326 grams of cocaine, 106 grams of methamphetamine, 45 grams of crack-cocaine, and other narcotics.

Investigators also found nine firearms, including three that had been reported stolen;  ammunition; magazines; a glock conversion kit; and approximately $60,000 cash.

These cases are being prosecuted by Deputy Attorney General Catherine Pirolli. All charges are accusations. The defendants are innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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