A Reading man was arrested and suspected of trafficking Marijuana Thursday following a month long joint investigation between the Central Berks Regional Police Department, the Berks County District Attorney’s Drug Task Force, and the Berks County Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 Unit.
According to investigators, in June of 2021, the Central Berks Regional Police Department initiated a drug trafficking investigation into suspicious parcels being delivered to a home in the borough of Mount Penn via the United Parcel Service. The parcels were being shipped from Los Angeles, California to an undisclosed address in Mount Penn.
Police say one of the parcel packages was recovered on Friday, June 25, 2021, which contained nineteen plastic bags of suspected marijuana, each bag weighing approximately one pound.
The following Wednesday, Police observed a person, later identified as 28 year old Elias Rodriguez, at the same undisclosed location removing a second parcel from the front of that address. Rodriguez placed the parcel into the back seat of a black Mazda MZ6 and drove away.
On Thursday morning, July 1, detectives observed the unoccupied Mazda MZ6 parked in the 1500 block of Perkiomen Avenue in Reading. Investigators say detectives maintained surveillance of the vehicle, and a short time later, Rodriguez exited a residence in the 1500 block of Perkiomen Avenue and placed a large bag in the trunk of the black Mazda.
Rodriguez drove to the 500 block of Schuylkill Avenue and parked the vehicle. Rodriguez exited the vehicle and removed a bag from the trunk. A short time later, a second Mazda vehicle with a male driver arrived and parked. The male and Rodriguez were observed engaging in a suspected drug transaction. Both males were stopped and detained.
One the same day, detectives obtained a search warrant for a black Mazda MZ6 seized a number of items including, numerous packages of Marijuana, two working cellular telephones, miscellaneous packaging material, cutting agents, digital scale, and related drug paraphernalia, $3,490.00 in U.S. Currency believed to be proceeds from sales of controlled substances, and a loaded Glock, model 17, 9mm semi-auto handgun w/ extended magazine holding (22) 9mm rounds. Police say the firearm was previously reported stolen.
Subsequently, Elias Rodriguez was placed under arrest and transported to the Berks County Sheriff’s Department Central Processing Center for processing and preliminary arraignment. He was arraigned and bail was set at $150,0000 by Magisterial District Judge Carissa Johnson. Rodriguez was transported to Berks County Jail in lieu of bail.
On Friday, July 2, 2021, detectives obtained a second search warrant for a Storage Locker located in Shillington with several items being seized, including fifteen large packages of Marijuana. The total street value of all marijuana seized in the investigation is $190,000.00.
The investigation is ongoing. As in every criminal case, the fact that an arrest occurred is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.