3 arrested in $3.3 million heroin recovery
PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - With the help of the Drug Enforcement Agency, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced the arrest of 3 people and the confiscation of heroin;13 kilograms to be exact. The street value is more than 3 million dollars. Investigators say some of the heroin was headed for New York City.
"These drugs are now off of our streets," said District Attorney Seth Williams in a crowded press conference Thursday.
Experts say the 13.4 kilos of drugs recovered translates into half of a million doses of heroin.
"We do not want people selling that poison on our streets," Williams said.
The D.A.'s Dangerous Drug Offenders Unit and the DEA arrested three suspects and seized the stash of heroin during a joint operation.
Gheral Alavarez-Mercedes, 30, Zamary L. Roldan, 26, and Johel Pascal-Mateo, 26, are all in police custody.
Police say that surveillance of a property on the 7000 block of Bingham St. lead them to Alavarez-Mercedes after he was seen entering and leaving the home.
The officers then followed him and observed him meet an unknown man, put a small white box in his car, and drive away.
Police stopped Alavarez-Mercedes, searched his car, and found three kilograms of heroin in the white box. Alavarez-Mercedes was taken into custody on January 24.
According to police, other investigators stayed on Bingham Street during the arrest and saw Zamary L. Roldan leave the home with a diaper bag, purse, infant, and a container.
Police stopped Roldan and she voluntarily consented to have her car searched.
After searching Roldan's car, police 18 pounds of heroin and $5,000 cash.
Roldan was taken into custody and a family member took possession of the infant.
Alavarez-Mercedes consented to search of his home on Bingham Street, where police found .5 kilograms of heroin, packaging materials, and scales.
In an upstairs bedroom, police say there were passports for Roldan and Alavarez-Mercedes along with fake $100 bills.
Police learned that Alavarez-Mercedes was planning to meet with Johel Pascal-Mateo to exchange the three kilograms of heroin to be taken to New York City.
Officers stopped Pascal-Mateo near the Geraldo Transport Service, where they arrested him and confiscated over $450. The three suspects are being held on $5 million bail each.
Philadelphia faced a spike in heroin deaths after they say individuals were given 'bad' heroin, according to District Attorney Seth Williams.
Though officials cannot say if the 'bad' heroin came from this bust, they can confirm that more than 13 kilograms of heroin are "no longer on the streets of Philadelphia," said Williams.
The three suspects are being held on $5 million bail each. They have a detention hearing scheduled for Friday. Authorities say one of the suspects is in the country illegally from the Dominican Republic. The source of the heroin is still under investigation.