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. ••