Two Roaring Branch men are among 27 people who have been charged in connection with an alleged $3.5 million crystal methamphetamine trafficking operation that shipped the illicit drug from Mexico to the Reading area and as far north as Roaring Branch, state authorities said Wednesday in Philadelphia.
"Operation Blowout" centered around the activities of two alleged ring leaders: Wesley B. White, 53, of 972 Route 14, Roaring Branch, and Robert H. Snyder, of Pottstown.
Snyder received bulk quantities of meth from sources in Mexico and supplied drugs to White, who used a number of dealers and associates in Berks County and the community on the Tioga-Lycoming county line to sell the drugs, according to investigators.
Snyder and White were charged with participating in a corrupt organization, delivery of a controlled substance, conspiracy and other counts. Telephone numbers for them could not be located and it was not immediately clear if any of the defendants had attorneys.
White faces numerous charges including two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 20 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy and other related offenses.
State Attorney General Linda Kelly said in a statement that investigators with her office, state police and the Berks County district attorney's office used surveillance and court-authorized wiretaps - along with undercover drug buys - to identify suppliers, distributors and dealers connected to the organization. Evidence and testimony was presented to a statewide grand jury, which recommended charges against the 27 suspects, mostly from the southeastern part of the state.
A second man from northcentral Pennsylvania, Judson R. Route, 52, of 2013 Ogdensburg Road, Roaring Branch, also was charged. Route faces two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, seven counts of delivery of a controlled substance and criminal conspiracy and other offenses, according to Kelly.
Authorities believe the drugs were smuggled from Mexico into Texas. From there, the drugs were transported to Reading, where they were repackaged and sold throughout the state in areas such as Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley and Lycoming and Tioga counties, according to Kelley's office.
A grand jury was convened to hear evidence and testimony, which included surveillance footage, wiretaps, and more than 30 undercover drug purchases.