Crime

Local cocaine sales part of multi-county drug ring

State College police played a role in unveiling and identifying numerous individuals suspected in a multi-county cocaine drug ring stretching across Centre, Cumberland and Dauphin counties.

“I am very pleased. It takes the drugs off the street. ... It breaks up a network. Hopefully it sends a message to other people that we vigorously investigate these types of cases and I think it shows our community the stretch or the reach of a single drug case and the reach that it can have into something bigger six months later,” said Chief Tom King.

According to a press release issued by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Friday, George Velez-Ayala, 31, of Steelton; and Carlos Mendoza, 52, Gilberto Davalos-Gonzalez, 44, Sergio Becerra-Santiago, 30, and Emmanuel De-Jesus, 35, all of Harrisburg, have been apprehended and indicted by a grand jury in connection with the distribution and trafficking of large amounts of cocaine and marijuana in Centre County and across the state.

A grand jury report reveals that an investigation began in September by State College police, after authorities made contact with an informant.

Shortly after police made contact with the informant, numerous “controlled purchases” of cocaine were conducted, eventually leading authorities to an arrest, per court documents. After the informant’s arrest, the person allegedly expressed a desire to cooperate with authorities by providing information on suppliers.

Those suppliers, soon identified as Mendoza and Davalos-Gonzalez, were determined by police to be selling large amounts of cocaine out of a Carlisle pizzeria, according to court documents.

Mendoza and Davalos-Gonzalez allegedly made numerous sales of cocaine monitored by State College police.

After several months, agents working for the state Office of Attorney General determined that Emanuel De-Jesus was just one of numerous suppliers fueling the alleged Mendoza and Davalos-Gonzalez cocaine ring. More evidence suggests that the two were even receiving shipments of cocaine from Texas and Tennessee, according to court documents.

In March, agents executed search warrants on the residences of Davalos-Gonzalez and De-Jesus.

Through surveillance, authorities were able to determine that Davalos-Gonzalez and Mendoza were also being supplied by Velez-Ayala, according to court documents.

After executing search warrants, police found 3 ounces of cocaine in De-Jesus’ clothing and about 500 grams of cocaine inside Velez-Ayala’s residence, according to the grand jury report.

State College police Detective Donald Paul continued to receive information from a criminal informant, including a purchase of 55.65 grams of cocaine from Beccera-Santiago in October, according to the grand jury report.

According to the OAG, Mendoza is charged with 14 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, two counts of corrupt organizations and one count each of criminal conspiracy, criminal use of a communication facility and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

Davalos-Gonzalez is facing 14 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, two counts of corrupt organizations and one count each of criminal conspiracy and criminal use of a communication facility.

Becerra-Santiago is charged with eight counts of delivery of a controlled substance, two counts of corrupt organizations and one count each of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and criminal use of a communication facility.

De-Jesus is charged with three counts of delivery of a controlled substance, two counts each of corrupt organizations and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Velez-Ayala is charged with three counts of delivery of a controlled substance and two counts each of corrupt organizations and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.

“It breaks up a significant network which is going to make Centre County, Dauphin County and beyond safer than it was beforehand. It also shows the cooperation amongst law enforcement, the local agencies in Centre County, the state agencies and the attorney general’s office. Law enforcement works together to be able to make our community safer and that’s what makes me happy,” said King.

Jalelah Ahmed: 814-231-4631, @jalelahahmed

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