Multi-million dollar crystal meth bust

June 10, 2009 2:51:33 PM PDT
Three men have been arrested in a $2.5 million meth operation stretching from Mexico to Philadelphia.Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett announced the bust on Wednesday.

Corbett says the investigation, dubbed "Operation Mexican Ice," began in September 2008 and focused on the distribution of large quantities of crystal meth in the Philadelphia area and Southern New Jersey.

Arrested are: Adalberto "Nanao" Morales, 37, and Emmanuel Pimentel-Mejia, 25, both of Potter Street in Philadelphia along with Rafael Torres-Aguilar, 40, with addresses in both Georgia and California.

Corbett says the meth originated in Mexico, was taken to Atlanta, then transported by Torres-Aguilar to Philadelphia. Once here, Corbett says it was delivered to Morales and Pimentel-Mejia.

"Restrictions on pseudoephedrine sales have put a significant dent in meth production in the United States," Corbett said. "However, that void is being filled by the Mexican meth trade and other Hispanic drug dealers, who are making millions of dollars from America's drug addiction."

According to the grand jury, Morales was the main supplier to the drug organization, and often supplied them with pound quantities of crystal methamphetamine each week, totaling approximately 28 pounds of meth over a seven-month period.

Corbett said that Morales charged between $16,000 and $20,000 per pound for the crystal methamphetamine.

The charges state that once they had Morales' methamphetamine, members of the drug distribution organization redistributed the crystal meth to individuals throughout Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County and New Jersey.

Corbett noted that the investigation also revealed that Morales was involved in street-level sales of cocaine and heroin in and around Philadelphia.

Corbett said that agents executed a search at Morales' Philadelphia residence in April 2009 and seized approximately 5.5 pounds of crystal methamphetamine with an estimated street value of $500,000; 3.2 ounces of heroin with an estimated street value of $31,000, 2.2 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of $97,000, 13 ounces of crack cocaine with an estimated street value of $37,000, and various drug paraphernalia used to break down and repackage large quantities of drugs.

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