The Berks County District Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of 25 individuals Monday morning in connection to a drug investigation last week at a house in the 800 block of Muhlenberg Street in Reading.
Detectives say the investigation was initiated after learning drug transactions of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine were being made through a rear window and front door of the house. In response, they say several undercover purchases of fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine were made.
On Wednesday, April 12th, the Berks County Drug Task Force obtained a search warrant for the residence, which was served on the property early Thursday morning, April 13th.
Detectives say three suspects were found inside the home and were immediately placed under arrest. The suspects were identified as 28-year-old Jonathan Dinnis Fernandez of Pike Street, 39-year-old Hector Nieves-Castano of Muhlenberg Street, and 37-year-old Luis Figueroa-Santiago of Muhlenberg Street.
During the search, detectives say they found and seized the following items: Two-hundred-thirty-nine packets of suspected fentanyl/heroin, thirty-one packets of suspected crack cocaine, twenty-one packets of Suboxone, twenty-one Clonazepam 2 mg pills, three amphetamine & dextroamphetamine 10 mg pills, ninety-eight unknown blue pills, one packet of methamphetamine, numerous drug paraphernalia items and packaging material, assorted documents, two cellular telephones, digital gram scale, two handheld radios, surveillance cameras and monitors, $973.00 in United States currency believed to be proceeds from drug sales, one 9mm handgun with extended magazine and a 55 rounds of ammunition.
After serving the search warrant, undercover detectives conducted a reverse operation, posing as drug dealers and selling purported packets of heroin/fentanyl and cocaine to customers/users.
The reverse undercover operation was conducted for approximately four hours. During that time, undercover detectives arrested 22 individuals, identified as 48-year-old Robert Budwash of West Lawn, 42-year-old Omar Melendez-Marrero of Reading, 21-year-old Miguel Diaz of Reading, 29-year-old Jonathan Colon-Olan of Reading, 64-year-old Ernesto Mercado of Reading, 42-year-old Pedro Leon of Reading, 39-year-old David Polames-Colona of Reading, 47-year-old Uladimit Mercado-Ortiz of Reading, 51-year-old Martin Acevedo of Reading, 38-year-old Laura Hackman of Ephrata, 48-year-old Lisa Vergara of Reading, 56-year-old Annmarie Rayel of Temple, 44-year-old Juan Soto-Gutierrez of Reading, 49-year-old Javier Gonzalez-Rivera of Reading, 34-year-old Alexander McGuire of Mohnton, 38-year-old Hector Ecker of Reading, 34-year-old Alicia Calhoun of Reading, 42-year-old Maricelis Hernandez of Reading,32-year-old Francisco Aponte of Reading, 41-year-old Luis Ramos of Reading, 34-year-old Joseph Soto of Reading, 49-year-old Elvin Perez of Rehrsburg.
All suspects were transported to the Berks County Sheriff’s Department Central Processing Center for processing and preliminary arraignment. Bail for Jonathan Dinnis Fernandez was set as $150,000, Hector Nieves-Castano $125,000 and
Luis Figueroa-Santiago $200,000.
Jonathan Dinnis Fernandez has been charged with possession with intent to deliver, delivery, possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, conspiracy & criminal use of communication facility.
Hector Nieves-Castano and Luis Figueroa-Santiago were charged with possession with intent to deliver, delivery, possession, possession of drug paraphernalia & conspiracy.
Each of the 22 customers were charged with criminal attempt to possess a controlled substance with bails ranging from from $2,000 to $10,000.
All defendants were committed to Berks County Jail System.
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.