Cocaine traffickers sentenced in 'Operation Snowflake' bust
● By Lev
Police seized about a kilogram of cocaine, firearms and more than $60,000.
On July 18, Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced that the leaders of a local cocaine trafficking ring had been sentened.
On July 7, Omar Lopez-Jurado, of Coatesville, was sentenced to 12 to 24 years, and Jaime Moreno-Gomez, of Oxford, was sentenced to 10 to 20 years. Previously, on May 15, Heraclio Bernal-Cruz, of Oxford, had been sentenced to 24 to 48 years in prison.
The three were arrested in July 2011 by the Pennsylvania State Police as part of a wiretap investigation dubbed “Operation Snowflake.” As a result, police seized about a kilogram of cocaine, firearms and more than $60,000 from six defendants who were distributing cocaine in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.
Investigators said at the time that cocaine was being driven into Chester County from Indiana every week before the investigation.
In a statement to the press, Hogan said, “The Pennsylvania State Police did an excellent job taking down these drug dealers. Drug trafficking organizations bring poison into the communities and create an environment of fear and violence.”
Captain William White, of the Pennsylvania State Police said, “The assigned investigators dedicated a great deal of time and effort into this operation and were committed to removing this drug trafficking organization from the community. The Pennsylvania State Police worked closely with the Chester County District Attorney’s Office to ensure the successful prosecution of the defendants in this case.”
Heraclio Bernal-Cruz plead guilty to 44 counts, including possession with intent to deliver and operating a corrupt organization. Omar Lopez-Jurado plead guilty to 44 counts, including possession with intent to deliver, conspiracy, and possession of a stolen firearm. Jaime Moreno-Gomez plead guilty to 35 counts, including possession with intent to deliver and conspiracy. Eleven counts stemmed from a trooper working undercover.
Two other defendants who played lesser roles in the distribution of cocaine, Victor Palacios and Awilda Ramos Gonzalez, were also sentenced on July 7. Gonzalez was sentenced to two-and-a-half to five years in prison. Palacios was sentenced to 11-and-a-half to 23 months in prison. Defendant Cesario Bedolla Mora will be sentenced next month.
The Pennsylvania State Police investigation was assisted by the Kennett Square Police Department and the New Garden Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Christopher deBarrena-Sarobe of the Chester County District Attorney’s Drug Unit.