7 arrested in North Philly drug sting

NORTH PHILADELPHIA - September 19, 2012

Officials say 40-year-old Carlos Escobar and 55-year-old Miguel "Jose" Gomez were running an "Open Air Heroin Drug Market."

The Joint Law Enforcement Intelligence Committee (JLEIC) started tracking Escobar, Gomez and their colleagues in May.

Authorities say Escobar and Gomez are known felons with multiple drug arrests and convictions.

Video released by police allegedly shows Escobar providing what was dubbed Black Jack heroin at 7th and Cambria.

"DEA conducted what is called the surge initiative. Surge is targeting specific blocks in Philadelphia that are known for both violence and heavy drug sales," Assistant District Attorney Brett Furber said.

Detectives say Gomez also was captured on camera delivering the powerful narcotic.

"He was using his house on the 2900 block of Marshall Street as a stash location for some of these drugs," Furber said.

Action News went to the house.

Gomez's daughter Elia denied her father operated a drug operation.

"[Investigators] came in here with the dogs, all they found was $126 cash," Elia Gomez said.

Officials say the suspects would sell the drugs in the early morning hours and continued throughout the day 7 days a week.

Throughout the course of the summer, as a result of an intensive investigation, agents and officers of the JLEIC were able to make 40 arrests, and 52 seizures of heroin which included approximately 17 controlled purchases of heroin.

The investigation that eventually led to the arrests Tuesday of Escobar and Gomez began on March 12, when 17-year-old Dexter Bowie and 18-year-old Jonathan Stokely were both shot to death while riding on an ATV at the corner of 9th and Indiana.

After this double murder the JLEIC, identified the Philadelphia Police Department's 25th District as a priority, and devoted resources to the area.

The JLEIC obtained information from a DEA confidential source of the drug trafficking operation. Officials ascertained the operation was taking place at 7th and Cambria Streets, which was one block away from where the two teenage boys were murdered in March.

31-year-old Lloyd Christopher Butler and 26-year-old Zaiee Talbert have been charged with the murders of Bowie and Stokely.

The following individuals were arrested and charged with 17 counts of Possession with Intent to Deliver Heroin, 17 counts of Conspiracy and several other related charges:

  • 40-year-old Carlos Escobar, 3400 block of Hartville Street
  • 55-year-old Miguel "Jose" Gomez, 2900 block of N. Marshall Street
  • 37-year-old Jorge Gonzalez, 3700 block of N. Randolph Street
  • 35-year-old Carlos Jiminez, 3000 block of Indiana Street
  • 51-year-old Jose Ramos, 3200 block of N. 6th Street
  • 34-year-old Pedro Mendez, 4500 block of W. Marshall Street
  • 26-year-old Melvin Montano, 300 block of E. Ontario Street

    All of the suspects have been arraigned and are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on September 27.

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