HARRISBURG —Showing progress and law enforcement collaboration in the fight against illegal gun traffickers, Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced the arrest of three drug dealers and seizure of 22 handguns and shotguns, heroin and other drugs in Philadelphia.
Through a joint operation with Philadelphia narcotics officers, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, federal agents and the Office of Attorney General’s Gun Violence Task Force, police and agents targeted an area in North Philadelphia near Front and Indiana Streets plagued by open-air heroin dealing, shootings and other crimes. The arrests revealed that firearms being reported as stolen in other parts of Pennsylvania are being brought to Philadelphia and sold for heroin and other drugs. The law enforcement action targeted a drug-dealing ring known as the 2900 Waterloo Street Gang.
“People have the right to feel safe in their home and the neighborhoods where they live and work – and illegal guns and gun traffickers erode that basic right,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “Through the Attorney General’s Gun Violence Task Force, we’re working every day with our law enforcement partners to target these gun traffickers and get illegal guns off our streets.”
The Office of Attorney General’s Gun Violence Task Force (GVTF) is a unique partnership between state and local law enforcement to target illegal guns and firearms used in crimes in Philadelphia. Working closely with Philadelphia police, agents from the Office of Attorney General investigate gun trafficking, straw purchases and the movement of illegal guns. This case was jointly investigated by the Office of Attorney General and attorneys with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, who will prosecute it, as they do with other Task Force cases. Since its inception in 2006, OAG’s Gun Violence Task Force has taken more than 2,300 guns off the street and arrested more than 1,400 individuals with a conviction rate of approximately 78 percent.
The first phase of the recent law enforcement operation took place last week, when Philadelphia police and agents with the Task Force and ATF targeted four locations in North Philadelphia.
Arrested were German Rosado, 54, of the 2800 block of N. 4th Street, Joseph Rodriguez, 25, of the 2900 block of N. Waterloo Street, and Joseph DeJesus, 23, of the 3400 block of N. Hope Street. Rosado and DeJesus were charged with possession of drugs with the intent to deliver and gun charges in connection with the firearm seizures. Rodriguez was charged with possession of drugs with intent to deliver, related narcotics charges, and 12 counts of possessing an instrument of crime for the 12 guns seized from his home. Police seized various amounts of heroin, crack, prescription drugs and other narcotics as well.
Philadelphia police seized an array of guns from the four locations, including a loaded Colt 45 handgun with an obliterated serial number, 8 different 9mm Glock and Ruger handguns, 6 other handguns of different makes – and seven shotguns and rifles. Five of the guns seized were previously reported as stolen. Police also seized ammunition and gun magazines.
The next day, police and GVTF and ATF agents conducted a second phase of the operation, and seized additional ammunition and drug packaging paraphernalia from two of the four locations.
All of the guns and firearms seized are being jointly investigated by the Office of Attorney General’s Gun Violence Task Force and ATF.
“Strong collaboration with Philadelphia police, the District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms by our Gun Violence Task Force helped take 22 illegal guns and three drug dealers off the streets of Philadelphia,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “There is much more work that needs to be done, but cooperation is the best way we can make an impact in the communities hardest hit by the scourge of gun violence.”