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Attorney General Kelly announces criminal charges in "Operation Bread Winner;" 

HARRISBURG - Attorney General Linda Kelly today announced that agents from the Attorney General's Bureau of Narcotics Investigation along with local police have filed criminal charges against 20 people accused of participating in a $100,000 per month crack cocaine distribution ring allegedly operating from three locations in Coatesville, Chester County.

Kelly said the investigation, known as "Operation Bread Winner," focused on the activities of Lester Womack, age 33, of 311 Poplar St., Darby, Delaware County.  

10-6-11 Operation Bread Winner

According to the criminal charges, Womack and his associates cooked, prepared and distributed approximately two kilos of cocaine per week, allegedly selling the crack cocaine in prepackaged $20 bags using sales houses located on East Pennsylvania Avenue, 6th Street and Coates Avenue in Coatesville.

"This was a well-organized distribution network that was focused on generating and protecting substantial drug profits," Kelly said. "These cocaine sales houses were closely supervised by Womack's associates, were fortified and protected by firearms and used local juveniles as look-outs and 'runners' to deliver drugs."

Kelly said that intercepted telephone calls and surveillance determined that Womack's operation allegedly sold 200 to 500 of the $20 bags of cocaine per day.

"Womack allegedly bragged to associates and friends about the size and scope of his drug organization, calling himself the 'Bread Winner of Coatesville' and claiming to sell more drugs in Coatesville than any other dealer because of the high quality of his cocaine," Kelly said.

Kelly noted that Womack had been the target of an earlier narcotics investigation by the Attorney General's Office, though the suspected drug trafficking ceased when Womack was jailed on unrelated criminal charges in Philadelphia in 2008.  Upon his release on parole in May 2011, Womack allegedly returned to Coatesville and reestablished his cocaine distribution organization, triggering the investigation that resulted in today's arrests.

According to the criminal complaint, Womack obtained cocaine from sources in Philadelphia and Delaware County, including his step-brother - Clifford Hopkins, of Philadelphia - and Ackalith Kotanone, of Folcroft, Delaware County.  

Lester Womack was allegedly assisted by another relative, Marcus Womack, along with Tyrone Armstrong, both of Philadelphia.  According to the criminal complaint, the two helped Lester Womack obtain supplies of cocaine and also participated in the cooking, cutting and packaging of crack for street-level sales.

Kelly said the cocaine was allegedly prepared for street-level sale using various "bagging houses" in Philadelphia, or hotel rooms located near the airport or in the King of Prussia area.  After the cocaine had been processed and bagged it was then transported to the drug sales houses in Coatesville for street-level distribution and sale.

According to the criminal charges, "bagging house" locations included Marcus Womack's Philadelphia residence, on the 5600 block of Hadfield St., and the home of Paris Roberts, on the 5500 block of Irving Street, Philadelphia.

The investigation also identified another associate, Diane Harris, of West Chester, who is accused of assisting Womack's drug sales network by obtaining rental cars that were used to transport cocaine and drug proceeds.  Harris is also charged with participating in the laundering of drug proceeds - acting as the "straw purchaser" of vehicles and properties in an effort to conceal these assets from law enforcement.

According to the criminal complaint, Womack was also assisted by several other associates, including Ronald "Meatball" Vann, Jr., of Philadelphia, who allegedly supervised activities at the Coatesville drug houses. Vann is believed to be an associate of the Bloods street-gang.

Kelly said that Frank Carr, of Coatesville, was allegedly involved in day-to-day operations of the drug houses, along with numerous other individuals, including Yusef George, Keesa Brown, Eric Franklin, Stephan Jones, Elzenia Harris, Wheat Wilkerson, Desmare Shelton, Devon Coleman and three female juveniles.

Kelly thanked Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll, the Coatesville Police Chief Julius Canale and the officers of the Coatesville Police Department, Delaware County District Attorney G. Michael Green and Delaware County Sheriff Joseph F. McGinn and the members of the Delaware County

Sheriff's Office for their cooperation and assistance with this investigation.

The defendants will be prosecuted in Delaware County Court of Common Pleas by Deputy Attorney General Andrew M. Rongaus of the Attorney General's Drug Strike Force Section.

A full list of the defendants and the charges filed against them is included below:

--Lester Womack, 311 Poplar St., Darby, Delaware County, is charged with 15 counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crack cocaine, criminal conspiracy, participating in a corrupt organization, criminal use of a communication facility and dealing in unlawful proceeds (money laundering).

--Ronald Vann. Jr., 1523 Rosalie St., Philadelphia, is charged with 10 counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crack cocaine, criminal conspiracy, participating in a corrupt organization, criminal use of a communication facility and dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Clifford Hopkins, 5643 Litchfield St., Philadelphia, is charged with five counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crack cocaine, criminal conspiracy, participating in a corrupt organization, criminal use of a communication facility and dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Ackalith Mee Kotanone, 601 Grant Road, Apt. 43, Folcroft, Delaware County, is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crack cocaine, criminal conspiracy, participating in a corrupt organization, criminal use of a communication facility and dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Marcus A. Womack, 5657 Hadfield St., Philadelphia, is charged with five counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crack cocaine, criminal conspiracy, participating in a corrupt organization, criminal use of a communication facility and dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Frank Carr, 24 Pennsylvania Ave., Coatesville, is charged with five counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crack cocaine, criminal conspiracy, participating in a corrupt organization, criminal use of a communication facility and dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Keesa Brown (address unknown) is charged with five counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crack cocaine, criminal conspiracy, participating in a corrupt organization, criminal use of a communication facility and dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Yusef George, 2238 Sears St., Philadelphia, is charged with five counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crack cocaine, criminal conspiracy, participating in a corrupt organization, criminal use of a communication facility and dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Stephan Jones, 1736 S. 65th Ave., Philadelphia, is charged with five counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crack cocaine, criminal conspiracy, participating in a corrupt organization, criminal use of a communication facility and dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Desmare Shelton, 700 Coates St., Coatesville, is charged with five counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crack cocaine, criminal Conspiracy, participating in a corrupt organization, criminal use of a communication facility and dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Tyrone Armstrong, 2656 South Sylman St., Philadelphia, is charged with five counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crack cocaine, criminal conspiracy, participating in a corrupt organization, criminal use of a communication facility and dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Elzenia N. Harris, 24 Pennsylvania Ave., Coatesville, is charged with five counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crack cocaine, criminal conspiracy, participating in a corrupt organization, criminal use of a communication facility and dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Diane Harris, 1650 West Chester Pike, Apartment DA 2, West Chester, is charged with criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver crack cocaine, participating in a corrupt organization, criminal use of a communication facility and dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Eric Franklin, 24 Pennsylvania Ave., Coatesville, PA, is charged with five counts of possession with the intent to deliver/delivery of crack cocaine, criminal conspiracy, participating in a corrupt organization, criminal use of a communication facility and dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Davon Coleman, 125 N. 59th Ave., Philadelphia, is charged with participating in a corrupt organization, criminal conspiracy, possession of crack cocaine and dealing in unlawful proceeds.

--Paris Roberts, 5510 Irving St., Philadelphia, is charged with participating in a corrupt organization, criminal conspiracy, dealing in unlawful proceeds, possession with intent to deliver and criminal use of a communications device.

Three female juveniles have also been charged with drug-related offenses (these charges will be prosecuted by the Delaware County District Attorney's Office).

(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.)

 

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