Cops Seize $23 Million Worth of Cocaine in Philadelphia

By Seth Ferranti 08/10/16

Over 500 pounds of cocaine and $77,000 were confiscated during the high-profile drug bust. 

Cops Seize $23 Million Worth of Cocaine in Philadelphia

Even though the City of Brotherly Love is considered a hotspot for heroin by law enforcement, $23 million worth of cocaine was recently seized in a high-profile trafficking bust that targeted large quantity dealers. Over 500 pounds were confiscated and six individuals were charged with running the illicit venture, which authorities allege was smuggling loads of cocaine into the city and surrounding regions by way of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. 

"While I’m always pleased when we arrest multiple drug dealers, more importantly we kept this poison off our streets and away from our children, especially in southeast Pennsylvania where so many people are concentrated," Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who is currently on trial for perjury and obstruction in Montgomery County, said in a news release.

The illicit organization used a warehouse in West Cambria Street in North Philly to store the drugs. Authorities speculate that the drugs were coming through the Port of Philadelphia from as far away as Colombia. 

“Our message to the drug trafficking organizations is this,” said Brian Michael, from Homeland Security Investigations. “Philadelphia’s International Airports and seaports are open for business, but not their business.” 

The raid, which was part of a joint investigation by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, came after two North Philly traffic stops which led police to the warehouse used to stash the cocaine.

Police conducted surveillance on the warehouse and followed a car that left the address. Upon delivery of more than 80 pounds of cocaine, the suspects were arrested and a warrant served on the warehouse, where the rest of the cocaine was discovered. 

The six men have all been charged with one count of conspiracy, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activity, possession of a controlled substance, and manufacturing, delivery or possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. The men—two from New York, two from Pennsylvania, and one each from Florida and Puerto Rico—are facing 10 to life on the conspiracy charges alone and are being held on bails starting at $1 million. John Olmedo, 48, of East Clementine Street, was the only one who called Philadelphia home.

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.