PHILADELPHIA - Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Wednesday that his office's "Kensington Initiative" netted its sixth major drug bust after it dismantled a heroin and cocaine operation that stretched from Philadelphia to Allentown and involved nearly two dozen people.
Speaking alongside Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, Shapiro said the 14-month investigation culminated last week in search warrants at properties between Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley. State and local law enforcement officers seized more than 8,000 doses of heroin and fentanyl, 1500 grams of cocaine and nearly 600 grams of crack cocaine.
According to Shapiro, seven guns were also found including ghost guns and some with "obliterated" serial numbers. As a result of the investigation, prosecutors have brought drug and weapons charges against eight people.
Shapiro named Chris Beauford as the operation's "ringleader," according to a press release. Joseph Stanton Sr., Joseph Stanton Jr., Rasun Owens, Christina Calhoun, Erik Severino, Coraliz Bizaldi, and Kareem Briggs were also charged. Arrest warrants have been issued for 14 more people in connection to the drug ring, Shapiro said.
Three arrested were already being charged as felons who are not permitted to poses guns, according to Shapiro.
"Each dose of these lethal drugs, every firearm seized, represents a life saved or lives saved in our communities," Shapiro said. "It also confirms something that we have said all along: The dangerous nexus between drugs and guns in our communities."
Authorities are investigating claims that the drug organization was responsible for many conflicts and gun-related violence in the Kensington section of Philadelphia. Shapiro said the group mainly operated on E Street, Clementine Street and Lippincott Street.
"As we all know, the Kensington area of our city has faced many challenges for generations," Outlaw said. The second-year police commissioner said the Philadelphia Police Department opened a Kensington district in January to help combat drug and gun crimes.
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