“Kensington Initiative” bags major drug trafficking operation

The District Attorney’s Office’s partnership with the FBI –“the Kensington Initiative – took down a drug trafficking organization that’s been funneling $7.7M of drugs into Philly every year.

During a press conference at the Philadelphia Office of Attorney General Bureau of Narcotics Investigations headquarters, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced a successful joint operation to shut down a known drug trafficking operation in the Kensington neighborhood.  The operation derived from a collaboration among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to target major criminal drug organizations, dubbed the “Kensington Initiative.”

More than 160 agents and officers representing all levels of law enforcement participated in the execution of search warrants at 13 residences and 15 vehicles early Thursday morning. The estimated street value of all of the heroin, fentanyl and other drugs distributed by this criminal operation is roughly $7.7 million annually.  In addition to 983 grams of crack cocaine (street value of $98,000) and 4,900 grams of heroin and/or fentanyl (street value of $1.7 million) seized, agents also recovered three handguns, $13,000 in cash, and a piece of heavy machinery known as a kilo press used for packaging drugs. 

The amount of heroin and fentanyl seized represents approximately 170,000 doses, which were primarily sold near the 3300 block of Argyle Street, less than two blocks from the infamous intersection of Kensington and Allegheny Avenues.  Most of the drug packaging paraphernalia was recovered from a residence on the 6200 block of Cardiff Street in the Northeast.  Eleven individuals were arrested in connection with the drug trafficking operation.

 “As your Attorney General, I’m listening – and I know you want to see these drugs out of your communities, your children be able to walk to school in safety, and your streets free of these poisons,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro at Thursday’s press conference. “Our communities, in Philadelphia and throughout the Commonwealth, cannot sustain the public health crises of gun violence and opioids.  As the Chief Law Enforcement Officer for Pennsylvania, it is my job to target criminals like these who are holding neighborhoods hostage and bring them to justice, but we must also work together to find solutions to treat and prevent addiction to see lasting results.”

The Kensington Initiative is an intelligence-led partnership primarily between the Office of Attorney General and the FBI, with support from the Philadelphia Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, SEPTA Transit Police and the Pennsylvania Army National Guard Counter Drug Aviation Unit.  The first arrest stemming from this initiative came in the fall of 2018, in which three people were arrested and one additional federal indictment pending.  That operation led to further investigation and the action taken Thursday morning.

Those arrested were:

Edwin Parrilla, 36;

Sandra Sanchez Pacheco, 51;

Jonathan Pagan Rojas, 35;

Anthony Rojas, 32;

Kelvin Rojas, 35;

Rafael Soto, 49;

Moreno Rodriquez, 26;

Raymon Rodriguez-Robles, 32;

Steven Joel Rodriguez Burgos, 25;

Jose Dejesus Evangelista, 35;

Rolfi Rodriguez, 40.

Each person will be charged with at least one count of charges including corrupt organizations, conspiracy, possession with internet to deliver narcotics, and simple possession. 

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