Mary Elizabeth Heft doesn’t live like a stereotypical drug dealer.
The 28-year-old Morrell Park resident owns a well-kept brick rowhouse at the end of a quiet block with a lush grassy property. She has plants on her stoop and a bird bath in the front yard. She and her 2-year-old son live within blocks of several public playgrounds and schools.
But police now claim that Heft was poisoning the children of her neighborhood with heroin. Philadelphia narcotics officers arrested Heft along with a local couple on April 15 for allegedly pushing drugs at three local playgrounds. Heft was a supplier to Ryan Luigaie, 22, and his girlfriend, Alexandria McKenna, 28, who in turn sold heroin to teenagers at Chalfont, Picariello and Mitchell playgrounds, according to Sgt. Robert Friel of the Narcotics Field Unit. Heft is still on parole for a prior drug-related conviction in the Reading area, too.
Investigators did not say how they learned of Heft’s alleged drug activity. On April 15, members of the Narcotics Field Unit Squad 4F were watching Heft’s house on the 3500 block of Kyle Road when they allegedly saw Luigaie pay a visit at about 4 p.m. Luigaie left the house in a 1994 Ford Explorer with McKenna as a passenger. Police stopped the vehicle nearby and, during an initial investigation of the occupants, allegedly found 10 packets of heroin and one Suboxome strip. Suboxome is a schedule 3 controlled substance prescribed to treat heroin dependence.
Police also seized $3,427 cash, obtained a search warrant for the vehicle and allegedly found another 136 packets of heroin. Investigators believe that Luigaie and McKenna were en route to sell heroin when police stopped them.
At about 9 p.m., police served a search warrant at Heft’s home and allegedly found 950 packets of heroin, 90 Xanax pills, a large quantity of homegrown marijuana, a bag of narcotic mushrooms, a bottle of liquid methadone, 12 Suboxome strips and $8,462 cash, along with a loaded Smith and Wesson revolver that had been reported stolen in Philadelphia. The narcotics have a combined street value of about $12,000, police said. Heft and her toddler were home at the time of the raid.
McKenna is a resident of the 3200 block of Kilburn Road in the Morrell Park area, while Luigaie lives on the 2700 block of Mower St. in Holme Circle. All three defendants were charged with drug possession, drug possession with intent to deliver and conspiracy. Heft was also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Because Heft’s home is within 1,000 feet of LaBrum Middle School, the defendants face additional sentencing sanctions if convicted.
Information about Heft’s prior drug case in Berks County was not available via online records. Her parole had been transferred into Philadelphia County, police said. Property records show that Heft bought the Kyle Road house for $180,000 in 2009. ••