A three-day anti-crime initiative last week in and around Kensington resulted in 180 arrests, more than $260,000 in drugs seized, and 20 guns confiscated, Philadelphia police announced Wednesday.

Among those arrested was a suspect in a February 2018 double homicide in Kensington. Jose Vasquez, 23, of the 3300 block of B Street, is accused of fatally shooting Jose Rodriguez, 21, and Bryon Vasquez, 19, on the 200 block of East Stella Street, police said.

Vasquez is in custody at a city jail on State Road. Lawyer Gina Amoriello, appointed by the court Wednesday to represent him, declined to comment on the case.

The initiative last Wednesday to Friday led to arrests of 87 illegal narcotics dealers, 59 buyers, and 30 people on prostitution charges, Deputy Commissioner Dennis Wilson said at a news conference at the Police Forensic Science Center at Eighth and Poplar Streets. Authorities also seized $68,567 in cash tied to the illegal drugs, he said.

Much of the $262,640 of street value in drugs seized was heroin, a large portion of which contained fentanyl, the deadly synthetic opioid, Police Inspector Joseph Fredericksdorf of the Narcotics Bureau said. Marijuana and cocaine also were seized.

The arrests occurred on the street and in homes, police said.

The enforcement effort was planned by the Narcotics Bureau and done in conjunction with the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration task forces, and for the first time included the city’s Police-Assisted Diversion program, Wilson said.

The program, which allows police officers to get people with addiction connected to social service agencies, was launched in December 2017.

Kurt August, who works in the city Managing Director’s Office as program manager for Police-Assisted Diversion, said a resource center has been set up at 3525 Kensington Ave. to help those arrested get services such as drug, alcohol, and mental-health treatment.

Wilson said the initiative was part of Operation Pinpoint, the department’s 2019 violent-crime-fighting strategy that combines hot-spot policing and intelligence-led efforts as “a laser focus to get into the neighborhoods” and arrest prolific offenders.

Jose Vasquez
Philadelphia Police
Jose Vasquez