What to Know
- Police seized more than 80 pounds of meth, 200 bags of fentanyl, more than two dozen guns and $135,000 in cash in a massive drug bust in Montgomery County.
- Officials determined the organization distributed approximately 800 pounds of crystal methamphetamine since 2019 and trafficked other drugs, including fentanyl and oxycodone.
- Investigators identified Tyrone Baker, 29, of East Lansdowne, Shakeem Johnson, 27, of Philadelphia, Joshua Quiles, 31, of King of Prussia, Jhamir Winans, 21, of Exton, and Ricky Evans, 28, of Los Angeles, as leaders of the drug ring.
Police seized more than 80 pounds of meth, 200 bags of fentanyl, more than two dozen guns and $135,000 in cash in a massive drug bust in Montgomery County.
The major drug trafficking organization was supplying the southeastern Pennsylvania region and beyond with methamphetamine that was shipped from Los Angeles to the group’s leaders in the Philadelphia area, investigators said.
Officials determined the organization distributed approximately 800 pounds of crystal methamphetamine since 2019 and trafficked other drugs, including fentanyl and oxycodone.
“Montgomery County Detectives and police officers partnered with numerous local, state and federal law enforcement to identify the extent of the illegal activities of this criminal enterprise,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said. “By partnering with U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Homeland Security Investigations, we were able to track these shipments and interdict significant quantities of methamphetamine that did not reach the region’s streets, thereby saving lives.”
The investigation began with the arrest of alleged drug dealer Chase Smith, 29, of Upper Darby, in March 2021. Police said Smith sold more than two pounds of methamphetamine to an undercover officer in Lower Merion Township.
Police determined Smith was part of a large-scale methamphetamine drug trafficking organization that supplied Montgomery County, the Philadelphia area, New Jersey, Maryland and West Virginia.
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Smith’s arrest led to an extensive investigation that included surveillance, search warrants and court orders for phone records.
Investigators later identified Tyrone Baker, 29, of East Lansdowne, Shakeem Johnson, 27, of Philadelphia, Joshua Quiles, 31, of King of Prussia, Jhamir Winans, 21, of Exton, and Ricky Evans, 28, of Los Angeles, as leaders of the drug ring.
Police said Baker, Quiles, Winans, Johnson and others connected to the organization were acquiring large amounts of methamphetamine from Evans, who was their alleged supplier in Los Angeles.
Evans allegedly shipped the drugs to the rest of the organization using the United States Postal Service, FedEx and UPS from different post office locations, UPS stores and other shipping stores.
Between March 2021 and March 2022, Baker, Quiles, Winans and Johnson used the mobile payment service CashApp to send more than $86,000 to Evans for the methamphetamine, according to investigators.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) also determined the organization shipped 91 packages between October 2019 and December 2021. Police seized 15 of those packages which contained around 60 pounds of methamphetamine in all, investigators said.
In all, the organization trafficked more than 800 pounds of methamphetamine as well as fentanyl, oxycodone and marijuana in Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and West Virginia, according to police.
Investigators executed multiple search warrants in Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs, Camden County, New Jersey, Clarksburg, West Virginia, and Los Angeles, California. Ultimately they seized 83 pounds of crystal methamphetamine with a street value between $2.6 million and $3.7 million, 200 baggies of fentanyl, 100 oxycodone pills, 17 handguns, eight long-guns (including one “Ghost gun” and four that were stolen), a ballistics vest and approximately $135,000 in cash.
Baker, Johnson, Quiles, Winans, and Evans are each charged with more than 100 felony counts of corrupt organization, conspiracy, possession with intent to deliver, dealing in the proceeds of unlawful activities, criminal use of a communications facility and other related offenses.
Baker, Winans, Johnson and Quiles were all arraigned on March 16. Baker and Winans’ bail amounts were set at $3 million cash each while Johnson and Quiles’ amounts were set at $1 million cash each.
Evans arrived in Montgomery County on April 3. He was arraigned with bail set at $3 million.
The suspects were all remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.
“Drug traffickers need to know that law enforcement in this area is committed to stopping the flow of all illegal drugs in Montgomery County—whether that poison is significant quantities of methamphetamine, heroin/fentanyl or other drugs,” Steele said. “The investigation resulting in these five arrests shut off a significant pipeline for methamphetamine to the entire Southeastern Pennsylvania region, and our communities are safer for it.”