40 arrested in ‘Operation Silent Night’
DA: Coatesville police arrested 40 suspects with alleged ties as drug dealers and as violent offenders
Police celebrated Christmas in the summer by giving criminals silver bracelets during “Operation Silent Night.”
The Chester County District Attorney’s Office and Coatesville Police Department announced Tuesday the results of Operation Silent Night in Coatesville during this past summer leading to the arrest of 40 suspects.
The operation targets drug dealers, gun crimes, and other violent offenders. The operation uses rolling searchwarrants, enhanced police patrols, grand jury proceedings, targeted arrests and coordinated prosecutions to maintain pressure on criminals. Operation Silent Night is designed to prevent and reduce violent crime, as well as gather intelligence about ongoing criminal activities.
“Over the past year, we have seen increased violent crime rates in cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, and Wilmington,” District Attorney Tom Hogan said in a statement. “Coatesville experienced multiple murders in 2016. Rather than take a wait-and-see approach, Chester County law enforcement decided to attack the issue aggressively and proactively, reinstituting Operation Silent Night. As a result, multiple dangerous criminals have been taken off the streets of Coatesville. Coatesville experienced a single homicide this past summer, which was quickly solved. Operation Silent Night lets the good citizens of Coatesville sleep soundly, but gives the criminals nightmares.”
Operation Silent Night, originally created in 2012, is a comprehensive law enforcement operation that combines the resources of the Coatesville Police Department, the Chester County Detectives and other law enforcement agencies.
“Once again, the teamwork approach to law enforcement proves to be the most effective,” Coatesville Police Chief John “Jack” Laufer said. “By partnering with county, state and federal law enforcement and our county and federal prosecutors, we are able to efficiently identify, arrest and prosecute those criminals who commit the violent crime that is so disruptive to our communities.”
The defendants have been arrested for dealing drugs, illegal firearms trafficking and possession, and violent offenses. The defendants are being prosecuted by both local and federal authorities.
The DA’s office announced that for instance, suspect Terrance “T-Rok” Rokins has been charged with 15 counts of drug trafficking as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm. Jonte Dalton is in federal custody, charged with trafficking in firearms. Steve “Black” Pittman is charged with drug dealing. Edward Pinto and Taj Richards have been charged with murder.
“There are names and faces in this list who have been problems for Coatesville going back more than a decade,” Kevin Dykes, chief of the Chester County Detectives, said. “And there are some new young guys getting into the life of drugs and violence. Operation Silent Night sends a simple message to criminals stay out of Coatesville.”
Laufer added that if someone asked police officers who are the criminals in the community most likely to be involved inmurders or other violent crimes, the police could easily identify those individuals.
“Operation Silent Night gives us the resources and focus to arrest these defendants for drugs and weapons offenses before they kill somebody, and maybe before an innocent child gets hit in the crossfire,” Laufer said. “When we see the violent crime rates spiking in big cities like Philadelphia and smaller cities like Chester in Delaware County, we recognize the need to use innovative tools to protect our own community. The Coatesville community and Coatesville Police Department want the City of Coatesville to be a safe place for families and businesses to thrive.”
Hogan said the Coatesville police, who have worked with other Chester County law enforcement officers, have done an “outstanding job of keeping the people of Coatesville safe.”
“Operation Silent Night will continue to keep the pressure on criminals,” Hogan said. “This multi-faceted operation is a model program that other cities can and should use. We are proud to see Chester County law enforcement leading the way.”