10-year term in cocaine case

A North Philadelphia man was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison yesterday for his role in a conspiracy to distribute almost a kilogram of cocaine last fall.

Macario Pedraza, 57, met a government informant at a residence on Franklin Street near Wingohocking on Oct. 9, 2009. The two went inside where a supplier, Diorio Santos, was waiting. A kilo of cocaine was on the dining room table.

The informant left the residence, ostensibly to get money from an associate, authorities said. DEA agents then arrested Pedraza and Santos, seizing 954 grams of coke.

Pension loophole closing

A City Council committee yesterday approved legislation to close a pension loophole that allowed outgoing Managing Director Camille Barnett to buy into the system after just two years' service.

Barnett, who is set to leave city government June 30, will legally receive an annual pension of about $49,000 after paying $120,451 into the system. The perk is available due to rules that allow employees to count service in other municipalities.

Under the new legislation, which will not affect Barnett, employees must serve for five years before they can buy into the pension program.

Trial ordered in '09 killing

Jamaal Simmons, one of the men accused in the July 2009 fatal shooting of a Philadelphia Housing Authority carpenter, yesterday was ordered by a Philadelphia municipal judge to stand trial for murder and related charges.

Simmons, 26, is accused of driving a minivan to the area of Norris and 24th streets in North Philadelphia where a gunman got out and shot Rodney Barnes, 46, while attempting to shoot another man.

Barnes, who was getting tools from his truck to work at an apartment at the Raymond Rosen Manor public housing project, was hit in the back of the head and died Aug. 5.

Foxwoods asks for more time

The investors behind the stalled Foxwoods Casino project late Tuesday night asked the state Gaming Control Board for another 120 days to get their project off the ground.

Philadelphia Entertainment and Development Partners said it is working with five potential investors "on an accelerated schedule in an effort to narrow this group down and reach agreement in principle with one of the investors." The gaming board began the process of revoking Foxwoods' license last month and investors have been paying a $2,000 per day penalty.

L&I catches up on sealings

Licenses & Inspections Commissioner Frances Burns has announced that L&I has eliminated the backlog of properties in need of cleaning and sealing. Previously, it had taken the department eight months to clean and seal a building.

Now, structures are cleaned and sealed within 10 days of receiving a complaint. In fiscal year 2009, L&I cleaned and sealed 952 buildings and has cleaned an additional 1,329 units this fiscal year.

Police facilities still risky

City Controller Alan Butkovitz has released the findings of his follow-up investigation into conditions at 23 Philadelphia police districts, which found police personnel still working in substandard and dangerous conditions four years after Butkovitz released his previous report and recommendations.

All 23 districts were reinspected by technicians from the Controller's Office and found to be in varying stages of disrepair - a number of which were in need of immediate attention due to the direct dangers posed to police personnel and the public.

Female bank robber sought

The FBI and police in Brookhaven, Delaware County, are looking for the woman who held up the Wachovia Bank at 3611 Edgemont Ave., in Brookhaven, yesterday.

Authorities said the woman, described as heavyset, with her long hair in a ponytail, and missing a front tooth, presented a threatening note to a teller about noon and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 215-418-4000.

- Staff and wire reports