Pennsylvania police have arrested a person they described as a “major source” of opiates in Berks County. Authorities claim that they seized over 1,000 packets of drugs, firearms and cash during a raid conducted Feb. 26 in Reading. A 58-year-old man was arrested at his home, where he allegedly ran a drug distribution operation. Police say that the man had over $173,000 in cash in his home along with the drugs. While they identified the man by name, they also said that this was likely not his real identity.
The man has allegedly used several aliases over the years and eventually adopted the identity of a friend who had earlier died. He is facing charges of possession of heroin and fentanyl with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance and illegal possession of firearms. The judge in the case ordered $1 million in bond for his release from Berks County Prison. The man has a criminal record in New York and New Jersey as well as Pennsylvania. He has previously been arrested and convicted for drug crimes, perjury and theft. Because of his prior convictions, the man was barred from legal possession of a firearm.
The arrest came after a month of investigations carried out by a specialized drug crimes task force. According to police, all of the suspect’s prepared packets contained fentanyl, a powerful narcotic heavily linked to the opiate overdose epidemic. Over 70% of overdose deaths in the region involve fentanyl.
Many police agencies have escalated drug enforcement efforts, and some of these cases may involve questionable or unlawful searches. A criminal defense attorney could help a defendant challenge police allegations and exclude improperly gathered evidence.