Police bust multi-million dollar drug ring

March 24, 2008 4:26:41 PM PDT
Pennsylvania investigators say they've broken up a multi-million dollar drug ring, which they're calling Operation Triple Threat. It's named after an operation in three counties where the ring allegedly sold heroin, cocaine and marijuana. Officials say it operated in Berks, Lebanon, and Dauphin Counties. Samuel Lopez of Reading is one of 18 people authorities allege are members of a 3 organization drug ring trafficking narcotics into at least three counties in Central Pennsylvania.

The state attorney general displayed some of the 24 pounds of marijuana, 70 grams of heroin, and 5 and half kilos of cocaine seized in Operation Triple Threat. The state drug strike force contends Triple Threat involved a loosely organized network of suppliers and dealers.

Attorney General Tom Corbett said, "It all revolved in one thing - the delivery of drugs here in central Pennsylvania. As far down as Philadelphia and as far west as Cumberland County."

Authorities contend the network pushed hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of drugs into the streets every month, going back at least five years. Corbett says the network was moving about 81 kilos of cocaine a year, translating into an estimated $2.9 million annually.

The drugs reportedly came from Philadelphia and New York. They were allegedly trafficked under the leadership of Caesar Jaen, primarily into Dauphin and Cumberland Counties, Jesus Garcia allegedly pushed into Lebanon County, and Julio Rodriguez-Ortiz into Berks County. Convictions in their cases could net the three anywhere from 62 to 120 years in prison and up to $800,000 in fines and restitution.

The biggest impact is on the streets of towns like Reading.

Thirteen of the 18 triple threat suspects have been arrested. Authorities are seeking the others in this multi-million dollar drug ring.