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Bucks DA: Major heroin ring smashed, 13 charged

A major heroin-trafficking ring operating in upper Bucks County and responsible for "widespread addiction" in the Quakertown area has been taken down, the District Attorney's Office announced Wednesday

The organization was the subject of a nine-month grand jury investigation. It was allegedly run by two brothers in a remote wooded family compound in Richland Township, which was also the location of their family's masonry business.

"Heroin kills. It has no redeeming value. It's poison," District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Doylestown. "And those who peddle this poison to our citizens – to our children – must be incapacitated."

Between 2013 and 2016, Sheamus Patrick McCarthy, 27, and Casey James McCarthy, 22, led an 11-person organization that did almost $1 million in business each year, selling between 200 and 400 bundles of heroin per week – each bundle containing 10 to 14 individual bags, officials said. Neither brother used the drug.

A third brother, Thomas McCarthy, 25, allegedly sometimes sold heroin with his brothers, officials said. He also conducted his own independent drug-dealing operation in upper Bucks County and in the Allentown area, according to the grand jury.

The McCarthy organization, which relied on sub-dealers to market the drugs, sold the heroin in individual packets under names including Bueno, Miami, and Hot Shot, the District Attorney's Office said. The heroin allegedly came primarily from a longtime supplier, Antoine Hakim "Twan" Harris of Philadelphia.

At least two deaths have been linked to the ring, the grand jury said.

On June 7, 2014, Daniel Killion fatally overdosed from heroin. Quakertown police found packets with the Miami label in his room. An analysis of his phone found text messages that indicated Lauren Elizabeth Bihl, 26, allegedly sold Killion the drug. Bihl had been in constant contact with a cellphone registered to Sheamus McCarthy around the time of delivery. A witness testified he saw Bihl buy the heroin from Casey McCarthy and deliver it to Killion, according to the grand jury presentment.

On Dec. 6, 2014, police investigating the fatal overdose of Sean Brzyski found three unstamped blue bags of heroin. Brzyski's girlfriend told police they allegedly bought the drugs from Jillian Robyn Betts, 24, who regularly sold small quantities on behalf of Thomas McCarthy, the grand jury said.

The 13 defendants, including the McCarthy brothers, Harris, Betts, and Bihl, have been charged with running or participating in a corrupt organization, along with extensive drug-related felonies and misdemeanors.

Also charged were Kenneth Joseph Delp, 26; Daniel Keith Moyer, 25; Michael Levi Wentz, 21; Chad Eric Knechel, 45; Ryan Ernest Mokrynchuk, 24; Jonathan Benjamin King, 27; and Melody Annette Clugh, 23.

Two of the 13 have not yet been arrested, the District Attorney's Office said.

Staff writer Justine McDaniel contributed to this article.