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Police arrested 16 people in connection to a drug trafficking operation from California to Montgomery and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania.
Investigators said the dealers stuffed opioids into teddy bears and toy rabbits.
Police identified Amir Green as the leader of the operation.
Police arrested 16 people accused of trafficking drugs from California to Montgomery and Delaware counties in Pennsylvania, and smuggling them in stuffed animals.
The investigation began in February after law enforcement officials received a tip on a group of people using an apartment complex in King of Prussia for drug trafficking.
Investigators identified Amir Green as the leader of the operation even after he was jailed on April 7 on identity theft charges. Police said the organization trafficked large amounts of Oxycodone pills, marijuana and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) cartridges.
In addition, the members of the group regularly bought, sold or possessed firearms despite being prohibited from possessing weapons due to prior convictions, according to investigators.
Police identified the source of Green’s Oxycodone supply as Willie Webster of Los Angeles, California, investigators said. Webster allegedly shipped thousands of opiate pills to Green in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Green then allegedly sold the drugs to dealers working independent of his operation in the greater Montgomery County area.
Green and other members of the organization used fake and stolen identities in order to ship and receive the drugs, investigators said. Police also said they stuffed the opioids in teddy bears and toy rabbits.
Detectives used surveillance and conducted search warrants to identify members of the group. During the investigation, they seized eight firearms, 432 Oxycodone pills, 4.61 grams of fentanyl, approximately 113.5 grams of Hydrastine, Noscapine, and Papaverine, which are opioid derivatives used to cut fentanyl, approximately 1,295 grams of marijuana, 152 THC vape cartridges and approximately $30,000 in U.S. currency.
In all, the following people were arrested and charged with various drug-related offenses, including corrupt organization, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and dealing in the proceeds of unlawful activity:
More than 700,000 people have died from a drug overdose in the United States between 1999 and 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2017, approximately 68 percent of the more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths involved an opioid. On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.