Akexander Rivera and his wife, Ileana Vidal, did business in North Philadelphia, authorities claim, but they called Tacony home. The couple are unlikely to return home anytime soon after their convictions last week on numerous federal drug charges.
Rivera (a.k.a. “Reds), 29, of the 4100 block of Barnett St., will be sentenced to a mandatory life-in-prison term, while Vidal (a.k.a. “Diana”), 25, will face a mandatory minimum of 10 years when they next appear before U.S. District Judge Juan R. Sanchez. Rivera will be sentenced on Feb. 29 and Vidal on March 2.
Rivera was convicted at trial of conspiracy, along with possession and distribution of cocaine, crack and heroin. He also was convicted of gun possession in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Vidal was convicted of conspiracy only.
Rivera led what investigators labeled the Alexander Rivera Narcotics Distribution Organization (ARDO) in and around the intersection of Indiana Avenue and Lawrence Street, as well as other areas of the city, from February 2006 to September 2010. The drug ring dealt in cocaine, crack, heroin and PCP.
An indictment released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office last November named 15 additional co-defendants in the case, all of whom have pleaded guilty to various roles in the organization. Several co-defendants testified against Rivera and Vidal at their trial.
The drug ring used violence to protect and maintain its drug territory, which included vacant properties and residences in North Philadelphia, authorities said. That’s where the traffickers stashed and dealt drugs to customers.
Specifically, the charges alleged that on Sept. 26, 2006, Rivera wounded an innocent bystander while engaged in a shootout with a rival dealer; on Aug. 14, 2007, one co-defendant and two others kidnapped and tortured a person who owed drug money to Rivera; and on Dec. 24, 2009, Rivera and a co-defendant hired a third person to shoot a rival drug dealer.
The indictment says authorities recovered three handguns, ammunition and more than $19,000 in cash from the Barnett Street residence, but does not state that drug transactions took place there. ••