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$7M Mexico-to-Lehigh Valley meth ring broken up, AG says

By 69 News, follow: @69news, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 18 2013 04:28:36 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 18 2013 07:35:35 AM CDT

Major meth ring busted in LV

HARRISBURG, Pa. -

A crystal methamphetamine ring, which stretched from Mexico to the Lehigh Valley  and distributed $7 million worth of crystal meth over the past five years, has been broken up by state narcotics agents, officials announced Wednesday.

The 15-month investigation has led to charges being filed against 23 suspected drug dealers and traffickers, official said.

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane identified the leaders of the organization as Gary Kuehner, of Bethlehem, and Michael Lehrman, of Danielsville, Northampton Co.

A grand jury found that Carmen Wahlfeld secured large amounts of crystal methamphetamine from a source in Mexico and delivered the drugs to a location in Las Vegas, Nev., where it was packaged and shipped through FedEx to the Lehigh Valley, officials said.

According to the grand jury, shipments were made to Pawel Gajewski, who then supplied the crystal meth to Kuehner. Kuehner and Scott Morgan allegedly distributed crystal methamphetamine to customers throughout Lehigh and Northampton counties, officials said.

Agents estimate the organization is responsible for distributing at least four pounds of crystal methamphetamine a month, with an estimated street value totaling $7 million over the past five years, officials said.

"The time for denying that Mexican drug trafficking organizations are working in Pennsylvania is over,"Kane said. "People can no longer afford to bury their heads in the sand, denying that this problem exists."

Through court-authorized wiretaps, agents were able to determine the organization also sold marijuana throughout the Lehigh Valley, Kane said.

Kuehner, allegedly a major supplier of the marijuana, obtained the drugs from James "Jimbo" Schwar.

Officials identified the charged suspects as:

-- Gary Kuehner, 32, Bethlehem. He was charged with 10 counts of unlawful delivery or manufacture of a controlled substance, five counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

-- Michael Lehreman, 45, Danielsville, Northampton Co. He was charged with 13 counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, one count of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

-- Maria Wahlfeld, 49, San Diego, Calif., was charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

-- Pawel Gajewski, 36, New Tripoli, Lehigh Co, was charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activites.

-- Robert Nigro, 51, Allentown, was charged with five counts of possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

-- Scott Morgan, 32, Allentown, was charged with seven counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, five counts of unlawful delivery or manufacture of a controlled substance, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activites.

-- Lyle Dietz, 58, Allentown, was charged with three counts of corrupt organizations, three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

-- Kimberly Kerstetter, 39, Orefield, Lehigh Co., was charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of endangering the welfare of children, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

-- John Kerstetter, 38, Orefield, Lehigh Co., was charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, two counts of endangering welfare of children, and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

-- James “Jimbo” Schwar, 35, Red Hill, Montgomery Co., was charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

-- Matthew Baker, 31, Allentown, was charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of unlawful delivery or manufacture of a controlled substance, one count of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

-- Mark Balas, 38, Whitehall Twp., Lehigh Co., was charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver.

-- Shane Wechsler, 38, Walnutport, Northampton Co., was charged with one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

-- Michael Stroh, 51, Slatington, Lehigh Co., was charged with one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

-- Michael Gaspar, 37, Bath, Northampton Co., was charged with one count of endangering the welfare of children, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

-- Diana Southard, 44, Bethlehem, was charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess a controlled substance, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of possession of a controlled substance, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

-- Robert Wells, 44, Pocono Pines, Monroe Co., was charged with one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

-- Steven Keeler, 37, Walnutport, Northampton Co., was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

-- Todd Bohlen, 52, Center Valley, Lehigh Co., was charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of possession of a controlled substance, and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

-- Brian Ehret, 43, Zionsville, Lehigh Co., was charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

-- Justin Taglioli, 34, Emmaus, Lehigh Co., was charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

-- Zackery Quaye, 34, Allentown, was charged with four counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

-- Dean Desantis, 51, Belle Mead, N.J., was charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.