More than a dozen people were arrested in connection with a drug-dealing ring in an early-morning raid in the Kensington section of Philadelphia on Tuesday, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced.
Law enforcement officers from Shapiro’s office, the FBI, Philadelphia police, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and a number of other local, state, and federal agencies arrested 14 people and seized six kilograms of heroin and the synthetic opioid fentanyl, plus two kilograms of cocaine, five handguns, a rifle, and $200,000 in cash, Shapiro said.
Shapiro said the arrests and seizures were the result of a three-month wiretap investigation of a drug ring that operated on Clementine Street in Kensington. He said that some of the people arrested had lived lavishly off profits from drug sales, and that some had recruited “school-age children” to sell drugs in the area.
The arrests came the day after it was widely reported that the Pennsylvania legislature had passed a law giving Shapiro’s office jurisdiction equal to that of city District Attorney Larry Krasner in prosecuting some gun cases. The bill drew concern from Krasner’s office, which worried that the law was aimed at undermining the district attorney’s efforts to reduce incarceration rates in Philadelphia.
Shapiro said at the news conference Tuesday that he had not advocated for the law or asked legislators to introduce it, and said law enforcement agencies should collaborate, noting his office’s work with Krasner’s on the city’s gun violence task force. “It’s important no one acts territorial,” he said. “We have to work together to deal with the problems Philadelphians expect us to deal with.”
Tuesday’s operation, he said, was another example of that kind of collaboration. It was the third raid connected with Shapiro’s “Kensington Initiative," and resulted in the most arrests; in two previous operations, agents arrested three and 11 people, respectively.
Shapiro said residents must be shown that law enforcement is working to combat crime in a neighborhood that has been traumatized by gun violence and open-air drug dealing and use. Police Commissioner Richard Ross, who also spoke at Tuesday’s conference, added that Kensington “deserves better."