8 charged in Berks County Jail drug smuggling investigation

The Berks County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday afternoon that they have charged eight people in a scheme to smuggle drugs into Berks County Jail following multi-month investigation.

In mid-April of 2022, the Berks County Jail officials became aware of a scheme involving several inmates actively smuggling drugs into the prison.

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Officials contacted the Berks County District Attorney’s Office Detectives’ Narcotics Unit, who along with the prison’s assistance, initiated an investigation into drug smuggling.

Initial information indicated that since March of 2022 at least four packages containing Suboxone strips (Buprenorphine/ Naloxen), marijuana and other illegal contraband had been received by inmate(s) and that a fifth package disguised as legal mail was due to arrive at the prison in the next few days.

On April 21, 2022, prison officials seized a manilla envelope stamped “Attorney/Client” privilege with the return address of a local attorney’s office.

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According to the District Attorney, Prison officials and detectives opened the envelope which contained approximately an inch thick of paper with a hollowed-out space in the middle of the papers. The space contained a plastic packet, containing more than sixty Suboxone strips. Prison officials locked down the cell block where the package was intended to go and conducted a search of all inmates and their cells. They obtained additional evidence (used suboxone stipes and a vape pen), which indicated several of the inmates’ involvement.

Over the next several months, Berks County Detectives reviewed thousands of inmate audio and video communications recorded during the months of March and April, which were obtained from the prison.

As a result, detectives identified the following inmates as being involved in the drug smuggling operation, Brian Oliver, Bryan Williams, Thomas Reimert, and Andre Keyes. These inmates were working with the following suspects on the outside of the prison; Ashley Pilozo, Brittany Moyer, Hazel Velasquez and David Marshall.

Detectives learned that Pilozo, Moyer and Velasquez would obtain the Suboxone strips from heroin addicts, clinics, and drug dealers at the direction of the inmates.

David Marshall, who at the time was a resident of Wernersville Correctional Facility halfway house, was contacted by Thomas Reimert to obtain Suboxone strips. Marshall met with Pilozo and delivered the strips to her.

Suboxone is a drug used by addicts to relieve the symptoms of opiate withdrawal but can also be abused to create a “high”.

They would also obtain marijuana vape pens from marijuana dispensaries, as well as through people who possess a medical marijuana card. On numerous prison audio and video communications Oliver, Williams and Keyes instructed Pilozo, Moyer, and Velasquez on how to create and disguise envelopes as legal mail to avoid detection by prison officials.

Detectives say Moyer and Velasquez would assist Pilozo in preparing the disguised envelopes containing Suboxone strips and vape pens hidden inside. Pilozo would then mail the packages to the inmates at the prison.

In addition to the drug smuggling, while detectives reviewed calls, it became apparent that Brittany Moyer was involved in the illegal straw purchase of guns for and at the direction of inmate, Bryan Williams. Through further investigation it was determined that Moyer purchased a total of three firearms for Williams since December 2020.

November 1, 2022, charges were filed before Magisterial District Judge Brian K. Strand.

Six of the eight defendants are in custody. Ashley Pilozo and Brittany Moyer will be surrendering to detectives Tuesday night accompanied by their attorneys. They will be arraigned before MDJ Strand.

“I will be requesting consecutive sentences for all defendants committing these crimes while incarcerated in our county jail. If they cannot observe the law while incarcerated and respect our criminal justice system, then they should receive lengthy periods of incarceration to preserve the integrity and security of our jail system” said District Attorney John T. Adams.

Persons Involved & Charges

Brian Oliver, age 41, Schuylkill County Prison, Pottsville, PA – Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, Possession of Contraband, Conspiracy, Criminal Use of a Communication Facility.

Ashley Pilozo, age 21, 137 E. Penn Ave, Robesonia, PA – Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, Possession of Contraband, Conspiracy, Criminal Use of a Communication Facility.

Bryan Williams, age 30, State Prison – Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Contraband, Conspiracy, Criminal Use of a Communication Facility, 3 counts of Sale or Transfer of Firearms.

Brittany Moyer, age 27, 203 Gisella Drive, Sinking Spring, PA – Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, Conspiracy, Criminal Use of a Communication Facility, 3 counts of Sale or Transfer of Firearms.

Andre Keyes, age 38, Berks County Jail, Leesport, PA- Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, Possession of Contraband, Conspiracy, Criminal Use of a Communication Facility.

Hazel Velasquez, age 37, 1235 Elm Street, Reading, PA – Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, Conspiracy, Criminal Use of a Communication Facility.

Thomas Reimert, age 32, unknown address – Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, Possession of Contraband, Conspiracy, Criminal Use of a Communication Facility.

David Marshall, age 35, Smithfield State Prison, Huntingdon, PA – Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance, Conspiracy, Criminal Use of a Communication Facility

As in every criminal case, the fact that an arrest occurred or a complaint has been filed is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly
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