40 ar­rested in ‘Oper­a­tion Silent Night’

DA: Coatesville po­lice ar­rested 40 sus­pects with al­leged ties as drug deal­ers and as vi­o­lent of­fend­ers

The Phoenix - - LOCAL NEWS - Staff Re­port

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.”

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