Philadelphia narcotics investigators have arrested five men, including four residents of the Dominican Republic, for allegedly operating a multi-million dollar heroin packaging operation in a Bustleton duplex apartment.
Members of the Narcotics Field Unit arrested Pagan Melvin as he exited the duplex on the 1500 block of Stoney Lane on May 31. Melvin allegedly had six grams of heroin in a clear plastic baggie.
During a subsequent search of the property, officers found 619 packets of heroin weighing 1,317 grams with a “street value” of $434,610, said Sgt. Bob Friel. Police also seized $1,126 cash from the apartment and arrested four people that were repackaging bulk heroin for street-level distribution, Friel said.
The defendants include Melvin, 33, of the 6400 block of Oxford Ave.; David Cruz-Rodriguez, 32, of the 3400 block of Ormes St.; Roberto Del Orbe, 44, of the 4800 block of B St.; Johana Lasala, 34, of the 200 block of E. Westmoreland St.; and Elario Sanchez, 49, of the 6200 block of Souder St. All but Sanchez are believed to be Dominican citizens.
Officer Charles Myers led the investigation, which began early last month when police placed multiple suspected drug corners in West Kensington under surveillance. The officers tracked Melvin to the Stoney Lane address, which was used as a stash house and packaging location, Friel said.
In addition to the drugs and cash, police also confiscated heroin grinding devices and branding stamps from the Stoney Lane apartment, Friel said.
All five defendants were charged with drug possession, distribution and conspiracy. ••EndFragment