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Press Release

AG Shapiro: Targeted Law Enforcement Will Allow Community Violence Prevention To Take Root; Curb Drug & Gun Epidemic

August 24, 2020 | Topic: Criminal

Kensington Initiative Seizes 20 Firearms, Over $300k In Drugs During Covert Operation

PHILADELPHIA—Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that his Office seized 20 guns, $480,000 in cash, 23,000 doses of fentanyl, 26,000 doses of cocaine, and 174 bottles of xylazine in the Kensington Initiative’s latest operation. Today’s law enforcement action is the result of an 8-month targeted investigation into three drug trafficking organizations in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia.

“Operations like this are where progressive reform and public safety meet,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “For essential reform efforts to work, from violence prevention outreach and stronger social services, to mental health and treatment programs — they need to have space to take root, and thrive.”

The Kensington Initiative is a unique partnership between local, state, and federal law enforcement to target major criminal drug organizations in the Kensington neighborhood. Agents executed search warrants Wednesday and Thursday mornings in 30 locations believed to be connected to the organizations. The organizations’ activities have been linked to two shootings in the Philadelphia area. Users of the drugs sold by the organizations have been located as far away as Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Virginia, in addition to their operations in Pennsylvania.

“Every dose of these drugs, every firearm we picked up was capable of killing someone,” Attorney General Shapiro continued. “I am here today in Kensington to reinforce our continued promise to this great city: We are still here. We will not turn our backs on this community.”

AG Shapiro also announced at today’s press conference that his Office has added, for the first time, dedicated investigative analysts to the Philadelphia Gun Violence Task Force. This targeted investment will help carry out additional, high-value operations to curb gun violence.

Those participating in last week’s operation include: Office of Attorney General, the Philadelphia Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, PA National Guard Counterdrug Joint Task Force, SEPTA Police, Pennsylvania State Police, FBI, US Marshals, Bensalem Police Department, Central Bucks Regional Police K9, Warrington PD K9, and Hatboro Borough PD K9.

Those arrested include:
Carmelo Morales; Daniel Caraballo; Damon McCandless; Omar Carasquillo; Jose Vidal; Yogeiny Bautista Robles; Aaliyah Spurrell; Henry Figueroa; Keith McMullin; Michael Cotto Rivera; James Martinez ; Chastiy Rodriguez; Juan Miguel Diaz Miranda; Elvis Mendez; Celia Gonzalez; Marcial Julio Rivera; Maria Reyes; Juan Bautista; Carlos Lugo Torres; Wandaly Collade; Tashona Waters; Raul Escolastico; Algler Nichols; Juan Carlos Escolastico Disca; Jose Migues Suarez Duran; Julio Abreu; Noerlin Gonzalez; Ernie Pastrana; Johan Liriano; Mariluz Garcia; Luz Laboy; Irena DeLamota; Oscar DeLamota; Jacqueline Perez; and Ernesto Lopez.

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