Fen­tanyl sup­plier for drug ring sent to state prison

The Community Connection - - LOCAL NEWS - By Carl Hessler Jr. [email protected]­tu­ry­media. com @Mont­coCourtNews on Twit­ter

NORRISTOWN >> A Read­ing man iden­ti­fied in court pa­pers as the fen­tanyl, heroin and co­caine sup­plier for the leader of an al­leged cor­rupt or­ga­ni­za­tion that dis­trib­uted the drugs in Mont­gomery, Berks and Le­high coun­ties is on his way to prison.

Miguel A. “Migz” Figueroa Jr., 34, of the 700 block of Lance Place, was sen­tenced in Mont­gomery County Court to 18 to 40 years in a state cor­rec­tional fa­cil­ity af­ter he pleaded guilty to charges of cor­rupt or­ga­ni­za­tions, pos­ses­sion with in­tent to de­liver fen­tanyl and co­caine, con­spir­acy and deal­ing in pro­ceeds of un­law­ful ac­tiv­ity in con­nec­tion with in­ci­dents that oc­curred be­tween Novem­ber 2015 and June 2018.

The sen­tence was im­posed by Judge Risa Vetri Fer­man as part of a plea agree­ment. The case was pros­e­cuted by As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney Tonya Lupinacci, as­sis­tant chief of the tri­als divi­sion, and co­pros­e­cu­tor Laura Brad­bury, cap­tain of the firearms unit.

Figueroa was among more than a dozen peo­ple rounded up last year dur­ing the drug in­ves­ti­ga­tion dubbed “Op­er­a­tion Poi­son Con­trol.”

At the time of the June 2018 ar­rests, District At­tor­ney Kevin R. Steele al­leged the drug ring mem­bers were de­liv­er­ing “poi­son” to drug-ad­dicted peo­ple in the re­gion.

With the charges, pros­e­cu­tors al­leged Figueroa was the drug sup­plier for David Ty­rone Cooper, 43, of the 1000 block of Say­lor Street, Muh­len­berg Town­ship, Berks County, the al­leged leader of the cor­rupt or­ga­ni­za­tion. Cooper is still await­ing court ac­tion on drug-re­lated charges.

At the time of his ar­rest, Figueroa was pre­par­ing to de­liver 200 grams of fen­tanyl to an al­leged co-con­spir­a­tor, pros­e­cu­tors al­leged.

“Figueroa was deal­ing in death. He was de­liv­er­ing the poi­son that has fueled ad­dic­tions and over­doses that have af­fected so many peo­ple in Mont­gomery County and the sur­round­ing re­gion,” Steele said. “This sen­tence sends a strong mes­sage to any­one who is traf­fick­ing and sell­ing fen­tanyl and other deadly drugs in Mont­gomery County and in our re­gion that we will tire­lessly work to bring them to jus­tice.”

Sev­eral other peo­ple, lesser play­ers in the drug op­er­a­tion, pre­vi­ously pleaded guilty to drug-re­lated charges and are await­ing sen­tenc­ing.

Oth­ers charged, and still await­ing trial, in con­nec­tion with the drug op­er­a­tion in­clude:

Jerome Bev­erly Tucker, 63, of the 400 block of Chest­nut Street, Pottstown, who au­thor­i­ties al­leged was “to cook the crack co­caine” and pre­pare it for dis­tri­bu­tion; and Christo­pher Saun­ders, 25, of the 400 block of King Street, Pottstown, who was iden­ti­fied as Cooper’s step­son and “a mem­ber of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s up­per ech­e­lon” and who al­legedly was re­spon­si­ble for over­see­ing the dis­tri­bu­tion of co­caine and fen­tanyl in Pottstown.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors with the district at­tor­ney’s Vi­o­lent Crime Unit said the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties were re­ported to po­lice by nine con­fi­den­tial in­for­mants and three anony­mous “con­cerned cit­i­zens.” The in­ves­ti­ga­tion also uti­lized elec­tronic sur­veil­lance in­clud­ing wire­taps on the sus­pects’ phones, vis­ual sur­veil­lance, con­trolled drug buys and seizures of ev­i­dence with search war­rants.

Dur­ing the course of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, de­tec­tives learned that Cooper was pre­vi­ously jailed for about 10 years on drug traf­fick­ing charges and while he was pre­par­ing for re­lease from a state prison in 2015 he “for­mu­lated a plan” to dis­trib­ute drugs in Mont­gomery County, ac­cord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint.

“This in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed Cooper ac­com­plished his goal,” de­tec­tives wrote. “This plan in­cluded the en­list­ment of var­i­ous sub-deal­ers, in­clud­ing his step­son, Chris Saun­ders.”

On June 1, 2018, de­tec­tives in­ter­cepted phone calls be­tween Cooper and his al­leged con­fed­er­ates that re­vealed Figueroa was to de­liver fen­tanyl to Cooper at the Muh­len­berg Town­ship res­i­dence, ac­cord­ing to court pa­pers. Sur­veil­lance was es­tab­lished in the area and de­tec­tives ob­served Figueroa ar­rive in a Honda Odyssey and meet with Cooper.

“We knew we had to try and stop that sig­nif­i­cant amount of deadly poi­son from go­ing out on the street, so we moved quickly to set up law en­force­ment teams to ar­rest the de­fen­dants and serve 15 search war­rants on their homes and ve­hi­cles,” Steele said.

Dur­ing a sub­se­quent search of Cooper’s res­i­dence, de­tec­tives seized co­caine, drug pack­ag­ing ma­te­ri­als and a firearm, ac­cord­ing to the ar­rest af­fi­davit. De­tec­tives al­leged the co­caine was ob­tained from Figueroa.

Figueroa also uti­lized a con­cealed com­part­ment, or void, in the rear of the Honda Odyssey to con­ceal drugs. A state po­lice trooper trained to iden­tify such al­tered ve­hi­cle com­part­ments searched the ve­hi­cle and dis­cov­ered two bags of fen­tanyl, nearly 200 grams, and a Glock .40-cal­iber firearm.

Of­fi­cials said the fen­tanyl seized could have been di­vided into 6,600 doses on the street.

Searches also were con­ducted at other res­i­dences in Mont­gomery, Berks and Le­high coun­ties and re­sulted in the seizure of drugs, seven firearms and $34,000 cash, court pa­pers in­di­cate.

The ar­rests were the cul­mi­na­tion of a joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion by au­thor­i­ties from Mont­gomery, Berks and Le­high coun­ties, as well as the Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion and the Penn­syl­va­nia Of­fice of the At­tor­ney Gen­eral and Penn­syl­va­nia State Po­lice.

“This sen­tence sends a strong mes­sage to any­one who is traf­fick­ing and sell­ing fen­tanyl and other deadly drugs in Mont­gomery County and in our re­gion that we will tire­lessly work to bring them to jus­tice.”

— Mont­gomery County District At­tor­ney Kevin R. Steele

“Figueroa was deal­ing in death. He was de­liv­er­ing the poi­son that has fueled ad­dic­tions and over­doses that have af­fected so many peo­ple in Mont­gomery County and the sur­round­ing re­gion.”

— Mont­gomery County District At­tor­ney Kevin R. Steele

PHOTO COUR­TESY MONT­GOMERY COUNTY DISTRICT AT­TOR­NEY

Miguel A. “Migz” Figueroa Jr., 34, of Read­ing, was sen­tenced in Mont­gomery County Court to 18 to 40 years in state prison af­ter he pleaded guilty to drug-re­lated charges in con­nec­tion with his role as the sup­plier of drugs in a cor­rupt or­ga­ni­za­tion that dis­trib­uted drugs in Mont­gomery, Berks and Le­high coun­ties.

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