Heroin bust in Lexington Park

A sign out­side iden­ti­fies 7801 Roosevelt Blvd. as the Winchester Walk Apart­ments, but in­side apart­ment No. 36, a high-level heroin deal­er was run­ning a bank for a mul­ti­mil­lion drug op­er­a­tion, au­thor­it­ies claim.

Fed­er­al agents ar­res­ted Joseph Torres, 31, there on Ju­ly 19 and scooped up three of his al­leged ac­com­plices else­where in the city, seiz­ing al­most $217,000 in cash.

A five-count grand jury in­dict­ment re­leased last Thursday de­tailed how Drug En­force­ment Agency in­vest­ig­at­ors moved to ar­rest Torres, along with Bertin Sanc­hez, 29; Eu­ddy Izquierdo, 31; and Frank Fe­lix-Her­rera, 49, all res­id­ents of Phil­adelphia. Sanc­hez re­portedly is a Mex­ic­an cit­izen, while Izquierdo and Fe­lix-Her­rera are Domin­ic­ans.

Torres was the group’s con­tact with heroin sup­pli­ers in Mex­ico, so he co­ordin­ated and su­per­vised the de­liv­ery of the drugs across the bor­der and in­to Phil­adelphia, the in­dict­ment states. He also al­legedly en­sured that cash pro­ceeds were laundered and trans­por­ted to sup­pli­ers in Mex­ico. Torres fur­ther over­saw Sanc­hez, who al­legedly sold the heroin in large quant­it­ies to oth­er dis­trib­ut­ors, in­clud­ing Izquierdo and Fe­lix-Her­rera.

Between spring 2010 and Ju­ly 19, the group dis­trib­uted more than 500 kilo­grams of heroin, ac­cord­ing to the charges.

Torres al­legedly set up an­oth­er apart­ment at 3901 City Ave. as the stash house for the drugs, and used the North­east loc­a­tion to col­lect and store “bulk sums” of cash pro­ceeds from their sale. Agents raided the North­east apart­ment on Ju­ly 19, ar­res­ted Torres and al­legedly re­covered $19,319 cash from the unit as well as $89,920 from Torres’ car, which had an elec­tron­ic­ally con­trolled hid­den com­part­ment.

In a sep­ar­ate bust that day, agents fol­lowed Izquierdo and Sanc­hez in a car to the 100 block of E. Ment­or St. in Felton­ville, where Izquierdo dropped off Sanc­hez to pick up a second vehicle that al­legedly had been used to trans­port drugs. Agents ar­res­ted both men and al­legedly found $105,118 in drug money in Izquierdo’s pos­ses­sion.

The in­dict­ment claims that Sanc­hez dis­trib­uted about 39 kilo­grams of heroin shortly be­fore his ar­rest and was await­ing cash pay­ments from his cus­tom­ers. Mean­while, Izquierdo had al­legedly dis­trib­uted 21 kilo­grams of the drug and Fe­lix-Her­rera two kilo­grams of the drug while un­der fed­er­al sur­veil­lance. The in­dict­ment did not state the cir­cum­stances of Fe­lix-Her­rera’s Ju­ly 25 ar­rest.

All four de­fend­ants are be­ing held without bail. If con­victed of the charges, each would face pos­sible life in pris­on, with man­dat­ory min­im­um pris­on sen­tences of 10 years, as well as mil­lions of dol­lars in fines. The U.S. At­tor­ney did not an­nounce their next court date. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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