Police nab suspected NE-based drug dealer


Phil­adelphia nar­cot­ics of­ficers took an al­leged North­east-based heroin deal­er off the streets last week.

Howard Es­pin­al, of the 6500 block of Ever­ett St. in Castor Gar­dens, was sup­ply­ing heroin for open-air sales on the 2800 block of Grans­back St. in Felton­ville, at Rose­hill and Thay­er streets in Kens­ing­ton, and at Frank­ford Av­en­ue and Clear­field Street in Kens­ing­ton, ac­cord­ing to Sgt. Robert Fri­el of Nar­cot­ics Field Unit North.

Es­pin­al also was in­volved in a fraud­u­lent tax re­turn scheme in which crooks used the So­cial Se­cur­ity num­bers of people liv­ing in Pu­erto Rico to file false tax re­turns and con the In­tern­al Rev­en­ue Ser­vice out of re­funds ran­ging from $5,000 to $7,500 per fil­ing, Fri­el said.

In­vest­ig­at­ors de­term­ined that Es­pin­al used his Ever­ett Street apart­ment as a pack­aging house for the heroin, which was sold un­der the brand names “North Philly,” “Benz,” “Phil­lies,” “Apache,” “Bin Laden” and “Rambo.”

On Feb. 17, nar­cot­ics of­ficers and 2nd dis­trict po­lice raided the apart­ment and al­legedly found 556 pack­ets of heroin, one bag of bulk heroin, a grinder, scales, pack­aging ma­ter­i­als and brand stamps, along with nu­mer­ous tax re­turns filed in the names of vari­ous people.

The IRS and Secret Ser­vice were no­ti­fied of the sus­pi­cious tax re­turns.

The value of the con­fis­cated drugs was $7,870, Fri­el said.

Es­pin­al is charged with drug pos­ses­sion, pos­ses­sion with in­tent to de­liv­er and pos­sess­ing drug paraphernalia.

Of­ficer Charles My­ers led the in­vest­ig­a­tion. ••


You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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