After a two-year investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, the U.S. attorney’s office announced charges Friday against 40 suspects in a drug-trafficking operation in Chester, Pennsylvania.
The alleged members of the drug ring have been charged with carrying guns illegally and selling crack, cocaine and heroin. Authorities said proceeds of the drug sales were worth $1.8 million.
The defendants were also charged with storing firearms and drugs in a city playground. Law enforcement officials said the defendants carried and used guns to protect their territory in Chester’s Rose and Upland neighborhood.
“Just a few years ago, the city of Chester was deemed the second-most dangerous city in the United States of America,” said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan. “Today’s efforts will not only curtail the drug trafficking in the city of Chester, but it’s going to curtail the violence.”
Fifteen firearms have been recovered from the group, according to authorities.
FBI special agent-in-charge Edward Hanko said the indictments show the importance of different agencies working together.
“When you have a community that’s blighted by violence,” said Hanko, “sometimes they give up hope … that law enforcement has stopped working there or that we are defenseless against groups like this. This action today will show you that we are not.”
Thirty-five of the defendants have been arrested. Five are missing.