Police operation nets 49 drug dealers
● By J. Chambless
Chester County District Attorney Tom
Hogan and the Pennsylvania State Police have announced that 49 drug
dealers have been indicted in a joint law enforcement investigation
called “Operation Crushed Ice.”
The drug dealers were based in southern Chester County, and had operations reaching across the United States. The defendants trafficked methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and prescription drugs.
The operation was led by the Chester County Detectives and the Pennsylvania State Police. District Attorney Hogan said, “Operation Crushed Ice has destroyed a significant drug trafficking organization that was operating in our back yard. This is a battle that law enforcement fights every day to protect our children, our businesses, and our homes.”
Captain Maurice Tomlinson, the Commander of the Pennsylvania State Police Troop J, said, “Law enforcement cooperation was an integral factor in this investigation being successful. Agencies from around the country, county, and state worked cooperatively to bring Maitre’s reign in Chester County to an end.”
Maitre is 27 years old. He lived at 370 Conner Road in Oxford. The other members of the Maitre DTO who have been charged are: Brian Amoriello, 40; Alberto Andrews, 37; Jose Beltran-Mercado, 33; Michael Brackin, 25; Kiere Brown, 25; Christopher Bryant, 29; Nicole Bui, 29; Samuel Carr, 29; Charles Chambers, 55; Julio Colon, 28; Harry Dillow, 55; Dean Fenner, 47; Christopher Forrester, 38; Gilberto Hernandez, 24; Jeremy Horne, 26; Eboni Jackson, 41; Jermaine Jackson, 45; Scott Johnson, 29; William Jones, 30; Ryan Kelly, 36; Maria Lemos, 41; Carrie Lewis, 33; Debra Lewis, 46; Brittaney Mantz, 24; Marc Massey, 36; Herbert McClain, Jr., 30; Jenna McGoldrick, 26; Steven Miller, 29; Michael Oxford, 38; David Price, 34; Joseph Racca, 28; Moiscell Robinson, 28; Robbie Robinson, 40; Austin Rodriguez, 29; Deanie Seymour, 29; Victor Smith, 37; Theodore Spencer, 56; Tonya Stewart, 39; Andrea Sydenstricker, 27; Barry Sydenstricker, 60; Jonathan Taylor, 27; Darrell Thomas, 33; Timothy Turner, 27; Louie Velez, 37; Michael Walsh, Jr., 20; Michael Walsh, Sr., 38; Stephen Westmoreland, 33; and Michael Zelek, 30. Defendant Richard Maitre was the head of a drug trafficking organization (the “Maitre DTO”) based in Oxford. The Maitre DTO trafficked large-scale quantities of methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and prescription pills. The group also had connections to Montgomery County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, and Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania; as well as Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia, and Arizona; and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
Operation Crushed Ice began in 2015, when investigators learned Maitre was running drug operations in Southern Chester County. Maitre actually was in Chester County Prison at the time. He was using his co-conspirators to deliver drugs outside the prison, collect money, and stay in touch with other drug dealers.
When Maitre was released from Chester County Prison in 2016, he immediately began to run the DTO again, engaging in full-scale drug trafficking. Maitre had sub-distributors and customers. Using cooperators, the police were able to make purchases of drugs directly from Maitre and his co-conspirators. The police also discovered that Maitre used violence to run his operation.
Using all of this information, law enforcement then put a wiretap of Maitre’s cell phone. Maitre was consistently dealing drugs throughout the region, and his drug contacts stretched across the United States.
Operation Crushed Ice brought down the Maitre DTO on Jan. 12. Co-defendant Alberto Andrews was driving Maitre’s BMW to and from Ohio to deliver seven pounds of methamphetamine to Maitre at 416 Chesterville Road, Landenberg. Shortly after Andrews arrived, law enforcement executed simultaneous search warrants at 416 Chesterville Road and 17 other locations in the region used by the Maitre DTO.
During the raids, police seized methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana and prescription drugs. The police found more than 40 firearms, both handguns and long guns. Law enforcement also seized cash, more than 20 vehicles, and paraphernalia associated with drug trafficking, such as scales and packaging materials.
Maitre briefly escaped, but eventually was captured on Jan. 25. The defendants have been charged with felony drug trafficking, conspiracy, firearms violations, and related charges. Maitre’s bail was set at $2,000,000 and he was remanded to Chester County Prison.
All of the defendants were indicted by the Chester County Grand Jury.
District Attorney Hogan added, “Drug dealers are like a virus. They constantly shift and mutate, finding new ways to avoid detection and cause harm. Law enforcement works constantly to stay one step ahead of these criminals.”