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$3.5 million meth ring busted in Berks, Bucks counties

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 28 2012 11:06:45 AM CST
Updated On: Nov 29 2012 04:33:29 AM CST

A major methamphetamine ring funneled more than $3 million worth of Mexican drugs through Reading and the Lehigh Valley.

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. -

A major methamphetamine ring funneled more than $3 million worth of Mexican drugs through Reading and the Lehigh Valley, state police said. 

Investigators have charged more than two dozen suspects in "Operation Blowout."

The operation brought in "as much as a pound of drugs every two weeks," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly.

The street value of those drugs was $60,000 a month, according to a grand jury report.  The three-year investigation also recovered nearly 100 firearms and more than $100,000 in cash.

"You see these guns that are on the table," said Pa. State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan.  "This is why you should care, because there's a lot of violence that is associated with methamphetamine."

The investigation began three years ago in Tioga County, by the New York state border, where undercover agents began buying meth.  That led them to Reading and Berks County, where police said Robert H. Snyder, of Pottstown, Montgomery Co., was funneling meth in from the Mexican border.  Authorities alleged another suspect, Raul Cosme, of Reading, was used as an intermediary.

"Detectives used surveillance and court-authorized wiretaps, along with more than 30 undercover drug buys, as well as controlled purchases from these individuals, to identify the various suppliers, distributors, and dealers," said Kelly.

Police arrested all but two of the suspects Tuesday.  All were arraigned in Bucks County, where the entire group will be prosecuted.  Both Cosme and Snyder are being held under $2 million cash bonds each.

The group was feeding rural Pennsylvania's growing appetite for deadly crystal meth, Noonan said.

"None of these people were pharmacists that are on this chart," he said.  "They're guys mixing it up in a bathtub.  There's people down in Mexico working next to a chicken ranch, mixing up these drugs and selling it here."

Police said the suspects all made up three loosely-related drug rings.  Combined, police think they were supplying most of the street-level meth in our area.