Soud­er­ton po­lice in­volved in drug task force ar­rests

Souderton Independent - - FRONT PAGE - By Bob Keeler

Not only was Soud­er­ton Bor­ough Po­lice Depart­ment ac­tively in­volved in a drug task force that last week ar­rested more than a dozen peo­ple ac­cused of il­le­gally dis­tribut­ing syn­thetic marijuana and drug para­pher­na­lia, but it also KDG DQ RI­fiFHU wKR wDV DVVLJQHG VSHFL­fiFDOOy WR spend time watch­ing and learn­ing.

“He gath­ered ex­tremely im­por­tant con­tacts and he saw how it was done,” Soud­er­ton Bor­ough po­lice Chief James Leary told Soud­er­ton Bor­ough Coun­cil at the board’s Sept. 10 pub­lic works work ses­sion.

Mont­gomery and Le­high coun­ties were the pri­mary mar­ket­place for the ring taken down by “Op­er­a­tion Bowls, Bongs and Be­yond,” but those ar­rested came from Mont­gomery, Le­high, Berks and Northamp­ton coun­ties and “it ac­tu­ally spanned the tri-state area,” Mont­gomery County Dis­trict At­tor­ney Risa Vetri Fer­man said af­ter the ar­rests.

“Quite a bit” of the mer­chan­dise came to the In­dian Val­ley area, Leary said.

The ar­rests in­cluded the own­ers of con­ve­nience stores in Up­per Perkiomen, Sch­wenksville and Up­per Fred­er­ick.

“It was a re­ally, re­ally in­cred­i­ble ex­am­ple of what a task force can do,” Leary said.

Dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, D fiFWLWLRuV EuVLQHVV wDV set up in Soud­er­ton with in­ves­ti­ga­tors pos­ing as shop own­ers who wanted to buy mer­chan­dise sold by J & L Whole­sale Dis­trib­u­tors, an Al­len­town ware­house, and J & L’s “Insense Specail­ties” sub­sidiary.

TKH fiFWLWLRuV EuVLQHVV was a mail­box only and did not bring crim­i­nals into town, Leary said.

Syn­thetic marijuana con­tin­ues to be a con­cern, he said.

“We’re ag­gres­sively at­tack­ing it,” Leary said.

He also joined other in­ves­ti­ga­tors in de­cry­ing the pack­ag­ing of the prod­ucts, in­clud­ing “Scooby Snax pot­pourri,” that in­ves­ti­ga­tors say was clearly aimed at ap­peal­ing to young peo­ple.

Jour­nal Reg­is­ter staff writer Carl Hessler con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle.

Allen Stankus speaks with au­thor Va­lerie Owens at the In­dian Val­ley Pub­lic Li­brary in Telford.

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