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  1. VirtuallyEmotionless
    BENSALEM, Pa. — Cops confiscated $600,000 worth of raw heroin and busted four South Jersey men on drug peddling charges, police said on Friday of their search warrant operation on the 2900 block of Lincoln Highway.

    Raymer Carrasco, 26, Jose Vargas, 20, Melvin Torres, 18 and Francisco Saldana, 21, all from Camden, N.J., were locked up at the Bucks County prison on $750,000 cash bail on charges they possessed about one kilogram of raw heroin, a stolen .40-caliber handgun and thousands of items to package bulk heroin for re-sale, police said.

    Authorities said the heroin was packaged and wrapped in balloons, which is a common means of smuggling drugs to avoid detection in airports and other mass transit travel.

    “The heroin, a major addictive drug, was going to be cut, packaged and sold to people throughout the Delaware Valley,” Bensalem police alleged.

    Bensalem cops Dave Clee and Matt Tobie initiated the drug bust when they observed a “suspicious vehicle” in a parking lot on the 2900 block of Lincoln Highway, police said. The bust occurred Thursday on property owned by a hotel, according to news reports.



    Published: Friday, November 05, 2010
    By SULAIMAN ABDUR-RAHMAN
    Staff Writer

    http://www.trentonian.com/articles/2010/11/05/news/doc4cd467a10c23b513373793.txt?viewmode=default

Comments

  1. VirtuallyEmotionless
    $300k heroin seizure case is going to trial

    When the cops seized the heroin outside a Bensalem motel, they said the dope was worth more than $600,000.

    But when they took a closer look, they saw that the heroin was wrapped in several balloons, making the stash weigh heavier, police said.

    Fecal matter also added to the weight because the balloons had recently passed through the digestive systems of the "mules" who had smuggled the heroin from overseas, police said.

    Turned out, the heroin really was worth $300,000. No matter. The cops still had a case against the four Camden, N.J., men who allegedly planned to break up the stash and sell it.

    Following a preliminary hearing in Bensalem district court Wednesday, District Judge Joseph Falcone sent the case to Bucks County court in Doylestown for trial.

    During much of the hearing, Bensalem cops gave their accounts of the November bust, which occurred outside the Sunrise Inn on Lincoln Highway. Three of the four defendants' attorneys argued that no evidence linked the heroin and a gun found in a car to their clients.

    The hearing began with assistant district attorney Matt Hoover withdrawing a charge of corrupt organization against the men because of the reduced weight of the heroin. However, the suspects still face un-graded felony drug-dealing charges and related counts as well as carrying a firearm.

    Bensalem police Officer David Clee Jr. testified that he and Officer Matthew Tobie were on routine patrol that night when they saw a suspicious-looking Chevrolet Impala with New Jersey plates parked at the Sunrise.

    Inside the car was Melvin Torres, 18, who told the officers the Impala wasn't his - it was his cousin's, Clee said.
    "He was extremely nervous," Clee said.

    Torres then told the cops his cousin and two other men were in room 161, Clee said.

    Clee said he knocked on the room's door to find Francisco Saldana, 25, Jose Vargas, 20, and Raymer Carrasco, 26, inside. Then, Clee said, he saw a plastic bag commonly used to hold drugs on the floor.
    A search of the motel room, the men and the car followed, Clee said.
    The officer said he saw inside the motel room "more packaging material (for drugs) than I've ever seen in my 17 years as a police officer."

    Clee added that police found the heroin and a .40 caliber handgun inside a secret compartment in the car. He said police found all of the components of a drug dealing operation, including scales and baggies, inside the motel room.
    DNA tests matched the gun and the heroin to Saldana, Clee said. Tobie testified that he found small bags of heroin in Carrasco's pocket.


    With the exception of Saldana's public defender, the Philadelphia-based attorneys for the other men argued that the case be dropped.

    Robert Gamburg, Torres' lawyer, said the only evidence the cops had was that Torres was in a car that wasn't his and that he looked nervous. The heroin, because it was hidden in the secret compartment of the car, wasn't in plain view, Gamburg argued. He added that DNA didn't link him to the drugs or gun.

    Carrasco's attorney, Paul J. Hetznecker, made a similar argument. And Varga's lawyer, Joseph Santaguida, went further, arguing that his client arrived at the motel in a separate car that had no drugs or weapons in it.

    Hoover, the assistant district attorney, rebutted them, saying there was enough circumstantial evidence - including all of the baggies and scales in the motel room - to allege a drug-dealing operation.

    The reduced charges, however, did lead to lesser bail for two of the defendants. Falcone reduced bail for Torres and Vargas from $750,000 to $300,000.

    Falcone ordered Saldana's bail to remain because the case was strongest against him. The judge said he had no authority to reduce Carrasco's $750,000 bail because a county judge already reviewed it.

    Phillyburbs.com
    PhillyBurbs.com
    3/23/2011 7:16:06 PM ET
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42239645/ns/local_news-delaware_valley_pa/nj/
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