AG: $1 million drug ring shut down in Wilkes-Barre, 14 charged

By Joe Dolinsky - [email protected] | August 11th, 2017 10:16 am - updated: 10:25 pm.

WILKES-BARRE — State Attorney General Josh Shapiro on Friday announced the dismantling of a $1 million alleged narcotics ring that plagued the Wilkes-Barre area with an influx of heroin and crack cocaine over the past year.

“Operation Outfoxed” resulted in drug charges against 14 people, including accused ringleader Brian “Fox” Francis, Shapiro announced at the Luzerne County Courthouse while flanked by investigators and elected officials.

Francis, 35, of North Hancock Street, Wilkes-Barre, orchestrated the distribution of drugs he obtained from New York City for sale in Wilkes-Barre and other parts of Luzerne County, enlisting a network of dealers who peddled heroin and crack cocaine from residences and motels throughout Wilkes-Barre, Shapiro said.

Upward of $3,000 in daily sales were conducted by dealers in the ring, according to Shapiro. Though the alleged sales were spread throughout the county, Wilkes-Barre was hit hardest, he said.

“This was an extensive web of criminality,” said Shapiro.

With the assistance of federal, state and local investigators, federal narcotics agents received tips about Francis last year, according to the Attorney General.

Investigators began making controlled buys in September and secured a court order for a wiretap of Francis and some of his dealers in June, he said. Francis’ dealers used code words to communicate by phone and text, Shapiro said, calling heroin “movies” and crack cocaine “cookies” or “candy.”

Francis, who has an extensive record in Luzerne County, is charged with corrupt organizations and nine other related felonies. Court records show he previously pleaded guilty to drug charges in Luzerne County in three separate cases.

Arrest warrants have been issued for all of the players charged in the case, Shapiro said. Eight were in custody, and he expected the rest to be captured soon.

“This is an ongoing investigation,” Shapiro stressed. “As we speak today, the operation is unfolding on the streets of Wilkes-Barre. Our work in this case is not done.”

Those accused

The others charged in the case include:

• Derrick Bynum, 34, of Brooklyn, N.Y.

• Karon “Mad Dog” Varick, 25, Brooklyn, N.Y.

• Jordan “Rambo” or “Scrams” Stacy, 21, of North Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre

• Andrew Pope, 39, of Logan Street, Wilkes-Barre

• Brian “Dread” Jackson, 53, of Travelodge Motel, Wilkes-Barre

• John “Domo” Doe, age and address unknown

• Ras “Dollar” Johnson, 20, of South Hancock Street, Wilkes-Barre

• Kyle Patterson, 23, of Main Street, Avoca

• Maura Kathio, 28, of Stout Street, Yatesville

• Angela Thomas, 43, of North Walnut Street, Luzerne

• Taurean Kemp, 33, no known address

• Raheem “Free” Richardson, 30, of Hillside Avenue, Edwardsville

• Christopher Mark, 32, of Spring Street, Wilkes-Barre

In addition to the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, “Operation Outfoxed” involved the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office and county detectives, FBI’s Safe Street Task Force, DEA, Pennsylvania State Police, Luzerne County Drug Task Force, Plains Township Police, Wilkes-Barre Police, Edwardsville Police, Kingston Police, Luzerne Police and the Luzerne Sheriffs’ Office.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announces 14 arrests for an alleged drug ring that operated in the Wyoming Valley during a news conference Friday at the Luzerne County Courthouse. By his side is state Rep. Eddie ‘Day’ Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre.
http://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/web1_TTL081217shapiro1-2.jpgPennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announces 14 arrests for an alleged drug ring that operated in the Wyoming Valley during a news conference Friday at the Luzerne County Courthouse. By his side is state Rep. Eddie ‘Day’ Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre. Sean McKeag | Times Leader

By Joe Dolinsky

[email protected]

Reach Joe Dolinsky at 570-991-6110 or on Twitter @JoeDolinskyTL


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