A group of Dominican nationals who cops said were supplying Northeast Philadelphia and parts of North Philadelphia with cocaine, had a high-tech way of hiding their loot.
Cops said that when they raided a house on F Street near Marley Road, in Crescentville, on Tuesday after a four-hour investigation, they not only found 19 pounds of cocaine and $20,000 in cash, but a complex electronic compartment inside a basement storage closet where the men who lived there hid their drugs.
"It was actually an electrically wired compartment with switches that were behind a wall," said Lt. Mike Mitchell, of the Narcotics Unit.
Mitchell said that the switches could be triggered simply by banging on the wall.
The wall would fold down electronically, exposing the hidden stash.
Police said they also seized about $87,000 in cash from a car in which two of the suspects were trying to leave.
Police arrested Giovanni Rosario, who cops said lived in the F Street house; Juan Creres, of Friendship Road near Frontenac; Raphael Melendez, of Ruth Street near Cambria; Nisio Ramos, of Ormond Street near Luzerne; Juan Matos, of Russell Street near 7th; Esteban Pacheco, of Rising Sun Avenue near Saber Street; and Bhybi Montillo, of Bristol Street near Marshall.
In another case on the same day, narcotics officers seized about $160,000 in cash after observing what they believed to be a drug transaction on Brous Avenue near Cottman in Northeast Philadelphia.
Two officers from the Narcotics Field Unit stopped a black BMW occupied by two men and discovered a secret compartment inside the car where the money had been stashed.
Cops said the two men were not arrested because no drugs were found. The investigation is ongoing.
Narcotics Field Unit Capt. Chris Werner credited the good police work of Officer James Cullen and Sgt. Robert Friel for the F street bust, and Officer Sean Kelly and Officer John Speiser for the Brous avenue cash seizure.
"These kinds of jobs exemplify the passion, creativity, and hard work of the men and women of the Narcotics Bureau," said Chief William Blackburn. *