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Federal drug case leads to arrest of 14 individuals

As part of the ongoing effort to stem the flow of illegal drugs into and out of the state of Pennsylvania, authorities recently announced the arrest of 14 individuals from Philadelphia. Those arrested are believed to be part of an international drug ring that transports heroin throughout the region and beyond. The federal drug case includes 108 charges against 37 people.

The federal charges that those arrested now face include money laundering and the conspiracy to commit money laundering, conducting a criminal enterprise and substantive drug charges. The organization at the center of the case is known as the Laredo Drug Trafficking Organization. That group is believed to be responsible for the import of as much as 1,000 kilograms of heroin into the United States from Mexico.

Authorities believe that the group moved the drugs across the border and into the northern states by concealing the illegal substances in the bumpers and batteries of vehicles, hidden vehicle compartments and within sealed cans with fruit and vegetable labels. Two brothers were arrested and are believed to have headed the organization. According to investigators, when the drugs arrived in Philadelphia, the illegal cargo went into multiple packaging operations, where it was prepared for distribution.

Various money laundering schemes were allegedly put into place. The result was the transfer of as much as $5 million back into Mexico, where the two brothers reside. Should they be found guilty of the charges against them, they face the criminal forfeiture of as much as $60 million, as well as tens of millions in fines and life in federal prison. As for the Pennsylvania residents arrested in this federal drug case, they face mandatory minimum sentencing of 10 years, should convictions against them be obtained.  

Source: Roxborough-Manayunk, PA Patch, "14 Philadelphians Arrested in International FBI Heroin Bust", James Boyle, June 2, 2015

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