14 Arrested for Heroin and Crack Cocaine Sales in Wilkes Barre
WILKES-BARRE — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced the break-up of a drug ring that sold $1 million in heroin and crack cocaine in Wilkes Barre and Luzerne County over the last year. Fourteen people were charged with drug dealing in a law enforcement investigation called “Operation Outfoxed.”
Brian “Fox” Francis, 35, of N. Hancock Street, Wilkes-Barre, was the main drug dealer supplying heroin and crack cocaine he obtained from New York City for sale in Wilkes Barre and Luzerne County. Enlisting a ring of conspirator dealers, Francis set up an extensive drug network that operated out of motels throughout Wilkes Barre and local residences as well.
“The Fox drug ring sold more than $1 million in heroin and crack cocaine in Luzerne County,” Attorney General Shapiro said at a news conference today at the Luzerne County Courthouse. “They were selling $3,000 worth of drugs every day for more than a year – pushing their poisons into Wilkes Barre. The people of Luzerne County are fed up with this epidemic. We hear you, and we’re taking action. Today we shut down the Fox drug ring.”
Collaborating with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, Bureau of Narcotics investigators first received tips about Brian Francis last April. By September, investigators were making controlled drug buys from Francis and his gang of dealers. In June, the Office of Attorney General obtained court approval for a wiretap on Francis and his cohort of drug dealers. The surveillance obtained evidence of drug sales and planned trips to New York City to re-stock their supply of heroin and crack cocaine for sale in Wilkes Barre.
The network of dealers led by Francis used coded language to communicate by phone and text, calling heroin “movies” and crack cocaine “cookies” or “candy.”
Francis is charged with corrupt organizations – a first-degree felony, criminal conspiracy to delivery cocaine and heroin and manufacture with intent to deliver controlled substances.
Other defendants are charged with manufacture, delivery, or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance and related charges:
Three defendants were charged with criminal conspiracy:
In addition to the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, “Operation Outfoxed” involved the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office and County Detectives, FBI’s Safe Street Task Force, DEA, Pennsylvania State Police, Luzerne County Drug Task Force, Plains Township Police, Wilkes-Barre Police, Edwardsville Police, Kingston Police, Luzerne Police and the Luzerne Sheriffs’ Office.
Attorney General Shapiro praised the extensive law enforcement collaboration in this investigation. “We took down a major drug trafficking organization thanks to the strong collaboration between many partnering agencies. Law enforcement collaboration helps make our communities safer. We hear the people of Wilkes Barre and Luzerne County, and we’re doing whatever it takes to get these drug dealers and their poisons out of northeast Pennsylvania.”
Deputy Attorney General William Abraham will prosecute the cases.
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