16 Charged in Chester County Drug Trafficking Case

The Chester County District Attorney’s Office announced the arrests of 16 alleged drug traffickers involved in a “drug pipeline” that ran from Mexico through the county.

District Attorney Tom Hogan said in a statement Wednesday that the final suspect in “Operation Tuberia Rota” or “Broken Pipeline” was arrested last week after a year-long investigation.

“From my days as a federal prosecutor, we were aware that Mexican drug trafficking organizations run a pipeline of drugs up the East Coast, cutting through Southern Chester County. The DTOs hide their drug couriers among the law-abiding Latino population in Southern Chester County. Operation Tubería Rota sends a loud message to the Mexican DTOs -- we know where you are, we are coming after you, and we will shut down your drug pipeline in Chester County,” said Hogan.

Hogan said law enforcement used multiple confidential sources to infiltrate the drug traffickers. These sources were able to make direct purchases of cocaine. The police then used wire taps of the drug dealers’ phones to establish contacts and patterns of activity. The investigation discovered that these defendants had direct ties to Mexico and throughout the United States, intersecting with other drug investigations.

“This investigation confirms that Mexican drug trafficking organizations have infiltrated our communities throughout Pennsylvania. The defendants in this case established a drug distribution network responsible for distributing significant quantities of cocaine in Chester County,” said Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge David G. Dongilli. “The DEA will continue to use all of its resources to confront these drug organizations with our law enforcement partner-agencies.”

The following defendants were arrested: Daniel Ramirez, 28, of Nottingham, Pennsylvania;
Miguel Luna-Rodriguez, a/k/a “Gallo”, 44, of Nottingham, Pennsylvania; Martin Romero-Cruz, 30, of Oxford, Pennsylvania; Miguel Lara-Zavala, a/k/a “Twinky”, 44, of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania;  Abel Francisco Tinoco-Guitierrezz, 42, of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania;  Martin Zavala-Zavala, 36, of Coatesville, Pennsylvania;  David Mora, 31, of Reading, Pennsylvania;  Erick Orihuela-Solalinde, 29, of Reading, Pennsylvania;  Moise Lantigua-Ayala, a/k/a “Moi”, 29, of Reading, Pennsylvania;
Fidencio Avalos, a/k/a “La Tusa”, 42, of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania;  Jonathan Garcia Sanchez, a/k/a “Cesar”, 25, of Wilmington, Delaware;  Jesus Zamora-Zamora, 40, of Wilmington, Delaware;
Benjamin Lara-Medina, 38, of Wilmington, Delaware;  Cesar Morales Castillo, a/k/a “Rafael Castaneda” and “Chicles”, 32, of Wilmington, Delaware;  Marcelino Rocha-Luna, a/k/a “Pokey”, 25, of Wilmington, Delaware; and  Jose Miranda Garcia, a/k/a “Mario”, 29, of Newark, Delaware.

The defendants have been charged with drug delivery, conspiracy, and related offenses. In addition to criminal charges, a number of the defendants also face deportation proceedings.


Copyright AP - Associated Press
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