Man ad­mits role in 3-county drug ring

The Southern Berks News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Carl Hessler Jr. [email protected]­tu­ry­media. com @mont­co­court­news on Twit­ter

A Pottstown man po­ten­tially faces decades in prison af­ter he ad­mit­ted to his role in a cor­rupt or­ga­ni­za­tion, specif­i­cally, to dis­tribut­ing the deadly drug fen­tanyl and co­caine for the drug ring, pri­mar­ily in the Pottstown re­gion but also in Berks and Le­high coun­ties.

Aaron “Ace” Ram­seure, 31, of the 900 block of North Hanover Street, pleaded guilty in Mont­gomery County Court on Mon­day to 16 felony charges, in­clud­ing cor­rupt or­ga­ni­za­tions, con­spir­acy to de­liver con­trolled sub­stances and posses­sion with in­tent to de­liver heroin, fen­tanyl and co­caine in con­nec­tion with in­ci­dents that oc­curred be­tween Novem­ber 2015 and June 2018.

Judge Risa Vetri Fer­man de­ferred sen­tenc­ing so that court of­fi­cials can com­plete a back­ground in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port about Ram­seure, who will re­main in the county jail while await­ing sen­tenc­ing. As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney Tonya Lupinacci is pros­e­cut­ing the case.

Ram­seure, who is rep­re­sented by de­fense lawyer Jodi Griffis, faces a pos­si­ble max­i­mum sen­tence of 10-to-20-years in prison on the cor­rupt or­ga­ni­za­tions charge alone and the pos­si­bil­ity of decades in prison when the in­di­vid­ual drug de­liv­ery charges are con­sid­ered.

Ram­seure was one of five men ar­rested in June dur­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion dubbed “Op­er­a­tion Poi­son Con­trol.”

At the time, District At­tor­ney Kevin R. Steele al­leged the men were de­liv­er­ing “poi­son” to drug-ad­dicted peo­ple in the re­gion.

Au­thor­i­ties iden­ti­fied David Ty­rone Cooper, 43, of the 1000 block of Say­lor Street, Muh­len­berg Town­ship, Berks County, as the leader of the al­leged cor­rupt or­ga­ni­za­tion. Say­lor is still await­ing court ac­tion on drug-re­lated charges.

At the time of the ar­rests, Steele char­ac­ter­ized Ram­seure as “sec­ond-in­com­mand to Cooper, one of Cooper’s right-hand men.”

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

Miguel A. “Migz” Figueroa Jr., 34, of the 700 block of Lance Place, Read­ing, who was iden­ti­fied in court pa­pers as Cooper’s fen­tanyl, heroin and co­caine sup­plier; 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.

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.

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