KINGSTON — Michael Rosario appeared barefoot while William Pezzella had a difficult time keeping his pants from falling down.
Their appearance in magisterial district court Monday morning was evidence they were awakened from their sleep and taken into custody by authorities on drug-related charges.
Rosario, 23, and Pezzella, 50, both of Nanticoke, were among nine people arrested Monday in Operation Shape Up, an undercover drug investigation that targeted cocaine and marijuana trafficking centered at The Master Barbershop on Hazle Avenue in Wilkes-Barre.
The barbershop and Idley’s Furniture Store across the street were searched by the state Office of Attorney General and Luzerne County Drug Task Force on Thursday when the alleged ring leaders, Ramon Colon, 26, and his wife, Alexandra Mateo, 21, of Mayflower Crossings on South Empire Street, Wilkes-Barre, were arrested.
State Deputy Attorney General Tim Doherty said Colon and Mateo were traveling to New York City to pick up large amounts of cocaine and marijuana that they allegedly delivered to “sub-dealers,” those who were arrested on Monday, to sell throughout Luzerne County.
Drug agents intercepted thousands of text messages and phone calls detailing the large scope of the trafficking ring, according to the criminal complaint.
Monday’s arraignments before District Judge Paul Roberts began shortly after 9 a.m. and ended just before 11 a.m. The door to the courtroom was a revolving one, with one suspect being escorted in while another suspect was taken out.
Those who were arraigned by Roberts were: Amy Miller, 44, of Downing Street, Plymouth; her son David Atkinson, 23, of Sharpe Street, Alden; Anthony Wisneski, 30, of State Street, Nanticoke; Shannon Wisneski, 36, of Nanticoke; Michael Kane, of Terrace Street, Wilkes-Barre; Kim Fia Chan, 49, of Jackson Road, Shavertown; Steven Moore, 51, of Knox Street, Hanover Township; and Rosario and Pezzella.
Bail was set at $1 million for Chan and Atkinson and bail was set at $500,000 for Miller, Anthony Wisneski, Shannon Wisneski, Kane, Moore, Rosario and Pezzella. They were all jailed at the county correctional facility.
In an unrelated case, Rosario was free on $50,000 bail on drug charges from Hanover Township, for which his trial is scheduled in county court on Aug. 5.
Amy Miller’s other son, John Miller, 26, of Plymouth, was arrested Friday along with Brandon Hynes, 23, of Ashley, and Keith Wasiakowski, 26, of Nanticoke. Freddy Reyes, 45, of Mountain Top, David Castro, 38, of Hazleton, and David Hernandez, 24, of Wilkes-Barre, were arrested Thursday for their alleged roles in Operation Shape Up.