Mom, sons arrested in Pa. drug bust

By Terrapinzflyer · Nov 3, 2009 · ·
  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Mom, sons arrested in Pa. drug bust

    KUTZTOWN, Pa. - November 2, 2009 (WPVI) -- Investigators say drug trafficking was a family affair for suspects charged in a drug ring in Berks County.

    The probe spanned from New York, to Easton, to the campus of Kutztown University.

    Investigators say brothers Kendall, Nolan and Jerome Alexander, along with their mother Felician Edwards, were the ring leaders behind a $2.5 million marijuana and ecstasy drug ring.

    Action News spoke with Kendall and Nolan Alexander after they were arrested.

    When asked about the charges, Kendall said "Bogus, man. It'll all come to light. Blood is Jesus, thank you Lord."

    As for Nolan, he said "I don't even know the charges. Let that be known." When asked if he was a drug dealer, Nolan said "I'm a man of God."

    But investigators say these guys are no choir boys. All said, nine people were arrested with the Alexanders.

    Police say they used their pre-owned car business in Easton as a front to launder the drug money.

    A major shipment of marijuana and ecstasy pills was siezed during the bust along with a small arsenal of weapons and tens of thousands of dollars in cash.

    Attorney General Tom Corbett says the investigation continues, but it seems Kutztown University served as ground zero for this operation.

    "The Alexanders targeted the Kutztown University campus for redistribution of their marijuana because of the especially high demand for the drug among students," Corbett said.

    Corbett went on to say the Alexanders' contact at the school was a Kutztown University student named Blase Garrecht who now stands accused of playing the role of on-campus supplier. He's now charged with drug distribution and criminal conspiracy.

    Corbett said the marijuana was a high-grade variety, that sold for up to $5,200 per pound and that the Alexanders sold hundreds of pounds of it over the last few years.

    By Walter Perez

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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Attorney general breaks up Kutztown U. 'drug ring'

    ALLENTOWN — Nine people were arrested in the break-up of a drug ring that brought marijuana and ecstasy to the Kutztown University campus and led to money laundering in the area, the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office announced Monday.

    The investigation, called "Operation 777", began in 2008 and covered an operation that ran between New York City; Easton, Pa.; and the Kutztown University campus, according to Attorney General Tom Corbett. The investigation initially focused on the distribution of marijuana at the university campus, he said.

    A grand jury reviewed the evidence and determined criminal charges should be filed against brothers Kendell "Sho" Alexander, 30, of Yonkers, N.Y., and Nolan "Smurf" Alexander, 35, of Easton, and Jerome "Rome" Alexander, 33, of Easton; their mother Felician Edwards, 59, of Easton; Shawn Steckel, 24, of Easton; Kamarr Wheeler, 20, of Easton; Kamal Morrison, 27, of the Bronx, N.Y.; Blase Garrecht, 23, a Kutztown student;and Joe Finocchio, 21, of Easton.

    Garrecht, who listed a P.O. Box in Kutztown as his address, is charged with two counts of delivery of marijuana and one count of criminal conspiracy.

    Corbett said the drug ring was uncovered when agents arranged "a series of undercover marijuana purchases from Kutztown University students and were able to trace the source of the marijuana" to Kendell and Nolan Alexander. The university campus was allegedly targeted for redistribution of the drug by the Alexander brothers because demand for marijuana was high there, Corbett said.

    Garrecht allegedly received marijuana from the Alexanders for redistribution on campus regularly. Ecstasy pills were also sold on campus through the network, the attorney general's office said.

    Kendell Alexander allegedly sent large shipments of both the marijuana and ecstasy pills from New York to his brothers Nolan and Jerome Alexander in Easton where it was broken down into different quantities of several pounds each, given to local sellers who broke it down more for resale, the attorney general's office said.

    "This organization was responsible for distributing high-grade marijuana, which brought in as much as $5,200 per pound," Corbett said.

    Marijuana was stashed by drug ring members at various "stash houses" in the Easton area, including at 1412 Washington St., where duffle bags containing between 25 and 50 pounds were allegedly kept, along with hundreds of ecstasy pills, according to Corbett.

    Over the year, the Alexanders allegedly brought hundreds of pounds of marijuana with an estimated resale value of more than $2.5 million into Easton, the attorney general's office said.

    Kendell Alexander also allegedly used a business at 1639 Washington St. in Easton as a front for drug trafficking and money laundering, the attorney general's office said. Money was laundered using the business checking accounts of 777 Auto Sales, officials said. Jerome Alexander was found to be the principal owner of the business and he and his mother, Felician Edwards, were allegedly in charge of laundering the family's drug proceeds through its checking accounts, the grand jury found.

    The drug ring was broken up on Sept. 24 when agents for the attorney general's office executed search warrants and seized $30,000 from the business' accounts, along with 11 vehicles and four weapons. It was unknown if the weapons were illegally in the business owner's possession or not.

    The defendents will be arraigned in Berks County before Magisterial District Judge Gail Greth in Fleetwood. The case will be prosecuted in Berks County court by Senior Deputy Attorney General Heather Adams of the attorney general's Drug Strike Force section, and by Senior Deputy Attorney General Robert Stewart of the attorney general's Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering section.

    Assisting in the investigation were the Easton Police Department, Kutztown University Police, the Kutztown Police Department, the New York Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Bronx Police Department, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.

    By Eileen Faust
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