Over 30 people were arrested in a local drug bust that police say was connected to a drug ring in Colombia.
Angelo Betancourt Jr., 43, of Philadelphia, Michael Daly, 56, of Norristown, Douglas Ehrhart, 56, of Norristown, Charles Termine, 46, of Norristown and 28 other people were arrested for their roles in a drug operation that involved the trafficking of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, police said.
In January, 2014, agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) informed local officials of a heroin trafficking wiretap investigation being conducted in Medellin, Colombia with a possible connection to heroin trafficking in Montgomery County.
DEA agents shared with the Montgomery County Narcotics Enforcement Team(NET) several phone calls between Colombian drug trafficker Juan Carlos Jaramillo-Gonzalez and Michael Daly of Norristown, investigators said.
Both Jaramillo-Gonzalez and Daly had been convicted in federal court in the 1990s. Investigators said the two men developed a relationship with each other along with Angelo Betancourt Jr. while incarcerated in a federal facility.
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NET began investigating Daly and Betancourt while the DEA and Colombian National Police monitored Jaramillo-Gonzalez. A confidential informant provided information to NET about Daly selling heroin and cocaine in Montgomery County, investigators said. NET later learned Daly supplied a known Norristown drug dealer with “bundles of heroin” for resale, according to officials.
In August, 2014, detectives with the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office provided NET with information on the trafficking of Crystal Methamphetamine in Norristown. The Bucks County detectives identified Douglas Ehrhart and Charles Termine as the sources of the supply.
NET soon learned the cases were connected after analyzing phone records linking Ehrhart and Termine with Jaramillo-Gonzalez and Daly.
In October, 2014, a concerned citizen spoke to Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and NET detectives about a family member who was addicted to Crystal Meth. The citizen helped investigators identify the family member’s suppliers, which included Ehrhart, investigators said.
After gaining authorization from the Senior Judge of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, investigators wiretapped Daly, Termine, and Ehrhart. Wiretap evidence confirmed Termine and Ehrhart were involved in Crystal Meth trafficking in Montgomery County, according to investigators.
On Dec. 16, 2014, detectives seized a package of ten ounces of Crystal Meth shipped to Termine and Ehrhart by a drug dealer in Ventura, California, officials said. Termine and Ehrhart were not charged at that point however in order for officials to keep the wiretapping operation secret, police said.
Officials then began wiretapping Daly and Betancourt. Through the wiretapping, they learned about upcoming meetings between Daly, Betancourt and their drug customers, according to officials. Detectives then set up surveillance cameras at the home of one of the customers.
In January of this year, detectives listened in on a conversation between Daly and Betancourt. The two men were suspicious of Ehrhart, believing he was cooperating with police, investigators said.
The two men allegedly came up with a plan to find out if he was. Police said Betancourt agreed to deliver an ounce of Crystal Meth to Daly. The two men then allegedly planned to confront Ehrhart in Norristown and front him with the ounce of Crystal Meth if they determined he was not talking to police. Investigators said Ehrhart wanted to restart his drug business and needed a supply.
Fearing a violent incident, detectives planned to arrest Betancourt and Daly before they could confront Ehrhart.
On Jan. 23 at 8:40 p.m., Betancourt arrived at Daly’s home on Main Street in Norristown. After Betancourt entered the apartment, Daly called Ehrhart twice. Ehrhart didn’t answer the calls and Betancourt and Daly left the apartment.
Detectives then took action and arrested Daly and Betancourt. They also recovered the ounce of Crystal Meth and cash inside Daly’s apartment, investigators said, as well as another ounce of Crystal Meth, more cash and a loaded handgun from Betancourt’s vehicle.
Daly and Betancourt were arraigned on Jan. 24. Daly’s bail was set at $99,000 cash while Betancourt’s bail was set at $1,000,000 cash.
Police then conducted search warrants of people and properties in relation to the drug operation. In all, 32 people, including Betancourt, Daly, Ehrhart and Termine, were arrested. Police also seized 12.5 ounces of Crystal Meth with a street value of $70,000, 20 ounces of Cocaine with a street value of $37,800, prescription pills, firearms, cellphones, five vehicles used to transport drugs, tens of thousands of dollars in drug money and various drug paraphernalia.