District Attorney reports progress in ‘Operation Knockout’ with 5 arrests, 2 still sought

In a significant update to the ongoing “Operation Knockout” drug investigation, Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams revealed Tuesday that five additional suspects have been apprehended, while two remain at large.

The initial operation, which unfolded on October 12, 2023, resulted in the arrest warrants for 29 individuals involved in a large-scale drug trafficking organization. The suspects faced charges ranging from violations of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code and the Pennsylvania Controlled Substance Act to Delivery and Possession with Intent to Deliver of various controlled substances. The investigation also exposed links to a Mexican cartel, leading to the seizure of substantial quantities of illegal substances and firearms.

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In the latest development, five individuals who were previously at large have been taken into custody: Robert Quinter, 64, of Reading, PA, was apprehended on October 21st during a traffic stop by the Exeter Police Department. Angel Castillo-Cruz, 36, of Toms River, NJ, turned himself in on October 26th. Rahim Shakir Mathies, 41, of Reading, PA, surrendered on October 26th. Ramiro Gonzalez, 45, of Reading, PA, turned himself in on October 27th. Jose Lopez, 47, of Reading, PA, surrendered on November 15th.

However, the investigation is still ongoing, and two suspects remain at large: Jeffrey Kanelos, 44, of Reading, PA, is wanted on various charges, including Corrupt Organization, Dealing in Proceeds, Conspiracy, Criminal Use of Communication Facility, Possession with Intent to Deliver (PWI) of Controlled Substances, and more. Moises Franco, 34, of Reading, PA, faces similar charges and is actively being sought by law enforcement.

District Attorney Adams emphasized the collaborative efforts of the Berks County Drug Task Force, Reading Police Department, and Pennsylvania State Police in dismantling this extensive drug operation.

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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.
Anyone who has information about the whereabouts of those at large is asked to contact the Berks County detectives at 610-478-7171.
They can also submit an anonymous tip to Crime Alert Berks County by either calling 877-373-9913, downloading the ALERTBERKS app on their mobile device, or via text message by typing ALERTBERKS along with their tip to 847411.

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Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly is an independent and locally owned digital newspaper covering the City of Reading and Berks County. Subscribe today: berksweekly.com/subscribe
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