2 major drug organizations taken down in Centre County

Two drug organizations that distributed heroin and cocaine in Centre County and surrounding areas have been taken down, according to the Centre County District Attorney’s Office.

The drug rings — the Azim Robinson Drug Organization and the Calliste/Powell Drug Organization — brought cocaine and heroin to Centre County from Philadelphia. More than $350,000 worth of drugs were distributed by the organizations.

Operation Double Deal has put a stop to the distribution after the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office’s Centre County Drug Task Force completed arrest operations this week.

“I commend our Drug Task Force for rooting out these hard dealers and stopping the flow of dangerous drugs into our community,” DA Stacy Parks Miller said in a statement. “It is a long and complicated road to take down a network of drugs coming from somewhere else and we are committed to going up the ladder to cut off the supply.”

Azim Robinson was identified as running the Azim Robinson Drug Organization in December 2014, not long after he was released from prison for a 2010 drug arrest in State College. Syeem Byrd-Youngblood, Isaiah Tilghman, Nyeem Copes, Robert Carlin and Eugene Batchler were identified as local distributors for Robinson, who allegedly facilitated deals via cell phone in Philadelphia to avoid detection by authorities.

The organization dealt more than $300,000 worth of heroin and cocaine in the last two years, authorities said.

The Calliste/Powell Drug organization was allegedly run by Wilber Calliste and Joshua Powell, according to the DA’s office, which said that the two distributed more than $50,000 worth of cocaine and heroin in State College, Bellefonte and surrounding areas from the fall of 2014 to August.

Powell was arrested in August, and Calliste was arrested Nov. 16 in Berks County.

Law enforcement officials “made a series of controlled purchases utilizing confidential informants and undercover agents,” throughout the investigation of the drug organizations.

Related to the investigation, Robinson faces 38 charges, Batchler 27, Calliste 24, Copes 9, Carlin 7, Byrd-Youngblood 7, Tilghman 7 and Powell 6. Robinson, Batchler, Copes and Byrd-Youngblood are from Philadelphia. Calliste is from Reading. Powell and Carlin are from Bellefonte, and Tilghman is from State College.

In addition to the OAG and Centre County DA, other agencies involved in the investigation were State College, Patton, Ferguson, Spring, Bellefonte and Penn State police departments.