Just as the economy has its ups and downs, so does the drug trade. Yesterday, police announced they confiscated $267,000 of suspected drug money and 19 pounds of cocaine in two unrelated investigations that happened so quickly they surprised veteran narcotics commanders.
Seven Dominican Republic nationals were arrested, and the investigations are continuing, said Narcotics Capt. Chris Werner.
One was a four-hour investigation, the other even shorter.
About 4 p.m. Tuesday, police got a tip that a residence in the 5100 block of F Street near Roosevelt Boulevard in Olney was operating as a drug house, Werner said.
Lt. Michael Mitchell and Sgt. Robert Friel brought in Officer James Cullen and investigators from the FBI to conduct a surveillance of the property, Werner said.
Shortly after 7 p.m., Werner said, officers stopped two men who had left the home and driven away in a Toyota Highlander. The vehicle was pulled over in the 4600 block of Roosevelt Boulevard, where police confiscated $87,000 before executing a search warrant at the F Street home.
"They were running on the tip and they had very limited information," Werner said. "We were inside the property by 7:15."
There, police said, they found a hidden compartment in the back of a basement closet that had 19 pounds of cocaine packed as bricks with additional packaging material, Werner said. Police also confiscated an additional $20,000 in cash.
The drugs have a street value of $980,700, Werner said.
About the same time and four miles away, narcotics Officers Sean Kelly and John Speiser saw what they suspected was a drug transaction in the 7400 block of Brous Avenue in the Mayfair section of Northeast Philadelphia.
Two men accepted a large package in a black bag and got into a 1997 BMW, Werner said. The officers approached the car, but the occupants, also Dominican Republic nationals, said they knew nothing about a black bag.
A narcotics dog reacted positively to the vehicle, and authorities obtained a warrant to search it, Werner said.
"They started to take the car apart bolt by bolt," Werner said, and investigators discovered a concealed compartment behind the rear seat.
Inside, police said, they found a black bag with $160,000 in cash.
The two people in the car were not arrested, but the money was confiscated pending further investigation, Werner said, adding that no drugs were found in the vehicle.