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Operation Knockout Charges 29 Defendants, Seizes $1.5 Million Worth of Drugs

by Berks County District Attorney

Oct 13, 2023

​​Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams announced today that 29 defendants were charged with operating a large-scale drug trafficking organization within the City of Reading and surrounding jurisdictions. These 29 individuals were arrested in early morning search warrants and a round-up conducted by members of the Berks County Drug Task Force, Reading Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Berks County Sheriff’s Office. The defendants were charged with committing offenses involving violations of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code and the Pennsylvania Controlled Substance Act; Delivery and Possession with Intent to Deliver of Controlled Substances, which include bulk amounts of methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and fake opioid Rx pills of suspected fentanyl, Dealing in Proceeds of Unlawful Activity, Corrupt Organizations, and Criminal Use of Communication Facility. The arrest warrants were issued by Magisterial District Judge Priscilla Campos.

In early 2023, detectives from the Berks County Drug Task Force, along with the Reading Police Department and Pennsylvania State Police, identified a drug operation in Reading, PA, who were distributing various controlled substances. Through investigative tools, it was determined that these individuals were part of an even larger organization. Throughout the course of the investigation, we were able to identify one of the operation’s source of supply, who had direct links to a Mexican cartel.

Subsequently, Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams made an application for electronic surveillance of subjects of this investigation. This application was authorized by a Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge on Aug. 16. Through various techniques, law enforcement was able to identify and interpret these individuals’ mode of operation and patterns of distribution.

On Sunday, Sept. 3, with the assistance of electronic surveillance and PSP Shield Units, an interdiction stop was made on Interstate I-78 within Berks County. As a result of the stop and search that was conducted, officers seized nine kilograms of cocaine and a loaded firearm concealed within the vehicle.

On Sept. 28, search warrants were obtained and served at the following locations:

  1. 553 N. Front St., Reading, PA
  2. 403 Burnside Dr., Reading, PA
  3. 936 Hinnershitz Ct., Reading, PA
  4. 1107 Independence Dr., West Lawn, PA
  5. 609 Ave. A, Reading, PA
  6. 221 W. Douglass St., Reading, PA
  7. 115 S. 6th St., Reading, PA
  8. 34 N. Wyomissing Ave., Shillington, PA
  9. 55 Carroll St., Reading, PA
  10. 1424 Monroe St., Reading, PA
  11. 1161 N. 11th St., Reading, PA
  12. 321 Constitution Way, Reading, PA

As a result of the cumulative search warrants and undercover drug buys, the following is a summary of items of evidence that were recovered & seized:

  • Nine kilograms of powder cocaine (smuggled from Mexico)
  • Approximately 4,885 fake opioid pills of suspected fentanyl
  • Approximately 48 grams of fentanyl
  • Approximately 180 grams of crack cocaine
  • Approximately 1,515 grams of powder cocaine
  • Approximately 1,358 grams of methamphetamine
  • Approximately 1,360 grams of marijuana
  • Approximately 20 pounds of synthetic marijuana (K2)
  • $68,349.00 cash, U.S. currency
  • 10 handguns
  • One rifle

The approximate combined street value of the aboveseized drugs is over 1.5 million dollars.

On Oct. 12, arrest warrants were obtained for 29 suspects.

The arrested individuals were transported to the Berks County Sheriff’s Central Processing Unit and are currently awaiting arraignment. At the time of this release, 11 individuals are still at large.

As in every criminal case, the fact that an arrest occurred or a complaint has been filed is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

If anyone has any information regarding the whereabouts of wanted persons, please contact the Berks County Detectives at 610-478-7171. Anyone with information pertaining to this incident may submit an anonymous tip to Crime Alert Berks County by either calling (877) 373-9913, downloading the ALERTBERKS app on your mobile device, or via text message using your mobile phone and typing ALERTBERKS along with your tip to 847411.

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