$8 Million Cocaine Ring Busted
State officials say they've made an $8 million drug bust that involved a 17 year old girl and parents of three young children operating in Lancaster and York counties.
Attorney General Tom Corbett, after a 10-month investigation dubbed "Operation Dough Maker" announced multiple arrests including the couple and the teenager. The "dough" officials said, refers to the large amount of money changing hands for the drugs.
Corbett at a news conference today at the Manheim Township Police station said, "No community, large or small, is immune from drug abuse and drug trafficking. Drug dealers will move anywhere there is a demand for their product."
Investigators have seized more than 340 grams of cocaine, digital scale and $4,000 in cash from a house in Lititz and the drug ring was run by Maria Salcedo and Jesus Nepita-Avalos from their home. With three out of the four suspects behind bars officials are still on the look out for Jose Arroyo-Medina, another suspect in the case.
Corbett says the drug deals took place in pizza shop parking lots in the area and during the past year, cocaine deliveries, each amounting to several thousand dollars worth of drugs, were made to undercover agents. The people behind the operation were Mario Naranjo, 22, who is charged with nine counts of delivery of cocaine and one count each of conspiracy, criminal use of a communications facility and endangering the welfare of a child.
Maria Salcedo, 33, is charged with four counts of delivery of cocaine and one count each of possession with the intent to deliver cocaine, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of a child. Jesus Nepita-Avalos, 32, is charged with two counts of conspiracy, and one count each of delivery of cocaine and possession with intent to deliver cocaine.
Jose Arroyo-Medina, 28, is charged with two counts of delivery of cocaine and one count each of conspiracy and illegal use of a communications facility. The 17 year old girl has not been named due to her age and has been remanded to the county's juvenile detention facility. She has been charged with seven counts of delivery of cocaine and one count each of conspiracy, criminal use of a communications facility and endangering the welfare of a child.
Agents said the couple, Salcedo and Nepita-Avalos, originally from Mexico are in this country illegally and will be turned over to immigration authorities at some point.
The investigation began in January 2008 and the group was dealing in multiple kilos of cocaine, agents said , bringing in about 80 kilos worth of drugs worth about $8 million.
The agents said three children, between the ages of 2 to 10 years old, present in the Lititz home at the time were turned over to Children and Youth Social Services. The teenager's child was being cared for by relatives.