Published On: Wed, Mar 15th, 2017

Major Upper Bucks Heroin Ring Smashed; 13 Charged

An alleged large-scale heroin-trafficking organization that operated in Upper Bucks County for three years has been busted up, with 13 alleged participants facing felony charges, District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub announced Wednesday.

At its peak, the illegal enterprise – allegedly run by two brothers, initially from a remote, wooded family compound in Richland Township, and later from locations in Springfield Township and Quakertown – did almost $1 million in annual business, Weintraub said.

From late 2013 through late 2016, the organization sold as many as 400 bundles per week in the Quakertown area, with each bundle containing 10 to 14 individual bags of heroin, according to a 195-page presentment issued by an investigating county grand jury.

The presentment, which resulted from a nine-month grand jury investigation, describes a web of organized crime that greatly exacerbated the opioid crisis afflicting Bucks County residents.

“Heroin kills. It has no redeeming value. It’s poison,” Weintraub said at a news conference this afternoon in Doylestown. “And those who peddle this poison to our citizens – to our children – must be incapacitated.”

At the grand jury’s recommendation, 13 defendants have been charged with running or participating in a corrupt organization, along with extensive drug-related felonies and misdemeanors. All but two have been apprehended, with bail amounts set in the millions of dollars.

Their alleged crimes, the grand jury concluded, “led to widespread addiction amongst young citizens of the Quakertown area,” caused numerous overdoses and endangered many lives, all while reaping vast financial profits. At least two people who were customers of the McCarthy organization died of overdoses, the presentment said.

The grand jury “investigated fatal and non-fatal overdoses in Upper Bucks County over the past two years, and recommended that we arrest 13 people for their part in a major heroin trafficking ring,” Weintraub said. “It will now be our job to seek justice in these cases.”

At the helm of the enterprise, the presentment said, were Sheamus Patrick McCarthy, 27; and his brother Casey James McCarthy, 22, both originally from Richland Township.

“Sheamus McCarthy was known around town as not only a high-level drug dealer, but someone who others described as an enforcer-type, involved in fights and acts of violence,” the presentment said. “He was considered the `mastermind of the organization’ while Casey McCarthy frequently made trips to Philadelphia to acquire the heroin to be distributed to heroin dealers who would in turn sell the heroin to users.”

Although the grand jury considered the enterprise to have started late in 2013, the McCarthy brothers are alleged to have capitalized on the arrest of another large-scale dealer in Upper Bucks in early 2014. They essentially filled the void left by that dealer and cemented a business relationship with his main supplier, the presentment said.

That alleged supplier, Antoine Hakim “Twan” Harris, provided heroin to Casey McCarthy every few days, typically in 100-bundle increments sold for $5,300 to $6,300, the presentment said. From Harris, the drugs flowed through the McCarthy overseers through a network of large- and small-time dealers and users, the grand jury said.

Members of the organization would issue death threats against those who owed them money, as well as threatening their relatives, the presentment said.

The enterprise, the grand jury concluded, was nothing short of organized crime.

“Organized crime exists on a large scale within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, using the same patterns of unlawful conduct which characterize its activities nationally,” the presentment said. “Organized crime as it relates to drug trafficking and sales has become particularly widespread, affecting communities throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including Bucks County…

“We the Grand Jury find that a corrupt organization operated in the Quakertown area and surrounding areas of upper Bucks County, with numerous employees and co-conspirators.”

The grand jury found that a third brother, Thomas James McCarthy, 25, eventually broke off from Sheamus and Casey McCarthy and ran his own, smaller operation from locations including Quakertown, Richlandtown and Allentown. In June 2015, a woman arrested for possessing heroin in Richlandtown told police that “everybody goes to him in town” for their drugs, referring to Thomas McCarthy, the presentment said.

The McCarthy brothers grew up on a large, rural property in Richland Township, where their drug activities are alleged to have begun. The property on Cherry Road has a driveway three-eighths of a mile long in a wooded area, making it virtually impossible for police to conduct surveillance on it.

Initially, the presentment said, both Sheamus and Casey McCarthy made frequent trips into Philadelphia to make large purchases of heroin. By mid-2015, the grand jury said, Sheamus McCarthy began to withdraw from day-to-day activities and functioned as a “hands off” financial manager and overseer.

Casey McCarthy continued traveling to Philadelphia several times per week for purchases of heroin bundles allegedly supplied by Antoine Harris, the presentment said. The transactions usually occurred at or near the intersection of West Columbia Avenue, Oxford Street and Georges Lane in West Philadelphia, the grand jury said, with the drugs transferred in 100-bundle packages.

To avoid being stopped by police while transporting large amounts of cash or heroin, Casey McCarthy allegedly arranged for a follow car to tail his Jeep closely to and from Philadelphia, the presentment said. The driver of the so-called “bandit car,” who often was paid off with heroin, was instructed to drive erratically to divert attention from McCarthy’s Jeep if a police car began following them, the grand jury said.

The McCarthy organization trafficked in heroin bags stamped with identifying names such as BUENO, MIAMI, PROTOCOL, PANELA and FRESH, the grand jury said.

The MIAMI brand gained notoriety when an Upper Bucks man named Daniel Killion fatally overdosed on June 7, 2014. Bags bearing the MIAMI stamp were found with Killion’s body.

Although it could not be proven that the MIAMI brand specifically caused Killion’s death, the incident provided police with an early link to the McCarthy organization, the presentment said. Killion’s suspected supplier, Lauren Bihl, was a low-level dealer connected by cell phone records and witness accounts to Sheamus and Casey McCarthy, the grand jury said.

One day after Killion’s overdose death, a woman named Kristine Turner suffered a non-fatal overdose after using the MIAMI brand heroin in Milford Township, the presentment said. Turner was alleged to have purchased heroin directly from Sheamus McCarthy more than 100 times.

On Dec. 6, 2014, a man named Sean Brzyski fatally overdosed in Quakertown. Although factors other than heroin also contributed to his death, police determined that Brzyski had recently bought heroin from Jillian Betts, who allegedly sold small quantities for Thomas McCarthy, the presentment said.

By the fall of 2015, the McCarthy organization was selling between 200 and 400 bundles per week, the presentment said.

In September 2015, a woman named Hillary Lauchmen was arrested after crashing her vehicle while high on heroin and with an eight-month-old child in the back seat. Several bags with the PANELA brand were thrown from her vehicle, and she identified a member of the McCarthy organization as her supplier, the presentment said.

Additional non-fatal overdoses and evidence that helped lead investigators to the McCarthy organization are detailed in the grand jury presentment. The case was investigated primarily by the Bucks County Detectives and the Quakertown Borough Police Department.

Each charge listed below is an allegation subject to proof in court. Each of the accused is presumed to be innocent unless proven otherwise or such rights are waived.

THE ACCUSED:

Sheamus McCarthy
Sheamus Patrick McCarthy, 27, of Quakertown. Charged with corrupt organizations; dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities; criminal conspiracy; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver heroin and methamphetamine, criminal use of a communications facility, and recklessly endangering another person.

Casey McCarthy
Casey James McCarthy,
22, of Quakertown. Charged with corrupt organizations; dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver heroin; criminal conspiracy; criminal use of a communications facility; and recklessly endangering another person.

Thomas McCarthy
Thomas James McCarthy,
25, of Quakertown. Charged with corrupt organizations; dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver heroin; criminal conspiracy; criminal use of a communications facility; and recklessly endangering another person.

Antoine Harris
Antoine Hakim Harris,
 28, of Philadelphia. Charged with corrupt organizations; dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver heroin; criminal conspiracy; and criminal use of a communications facility.

Jonathan King
Jonathan Benjamin King, 
27, of Quakertown. Charged with corrupt organizations; dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver heroin; criminal conspiracy; and criminal use of a communications facility.

Kenneth Delp
Kenneth Joseph Delp,
26, of Richlandtown. Charged with corrupt organizations; dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver heroin; criminal conspiracy; criminal use of a communications facility; and recklessly endangering another person.

Daniel Moyer
Daniel Keith Moyer,
25, of Richlandtown. Charged with corrupt organizations; dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver heroin; criminal conspiracy; and criminal use of a communications facility.

Michael Wentz
Michael Levi Wentz,
21, of Perkasie. Charged with corrupt organizations; dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver heroin and fentanyl; criminal conspiracy; criminal use of a communications facility; and recklessly endangering another person.

Melody Clugh
Melody Annette Clugh,
23, of Allentown.Charged with corrupt organizations; dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver heroin; criminal conspiracy; and criminal use of a communications facility.

Chad Knechel
Chad Eric Knechel, 45, of Richlandtown. Charged with corrupt organizations; dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver heroin; criminal conspiracy; and criminal use of a communications facility.

Lauren Bihl
Lauren Elizabeth Bihl,
 26, no fixed abode. Charged with corrupt organizations; dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver heroin; criminal conspiracy; criminal use of a communications facility; and recklessly endangering another person.

Ryan Mokrynchuk
Ryan Ernest Mokrynchuk,
24, of Quakertown. Charged with corrupt organizations; dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver heroin; criminal conspiracy; and criminal use of a communications facility.

Jillian Betts
Jillian Robyn Betts,
24, no fixed abode. Charged with corrupt organizations; dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities; manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver heroin; criminal conspiracy; criminal use of a communications facility; and recklessly endangering another person.

(Information is provided by law enforcement and court officials, and is assumed accurate. All suspects and arrested persons are presumed not guilty unless proven guilty in a Court of Law or until such rights are waived by the accused.)

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Displaying 6 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Danidick1979@gmail.com' Kelly says:

    And now on to the meth problem…those are the really scary people. They will do anything, kill,break in, and they are up 24/7 doing it.

  2. thasluprus@thraml.com' Sandra says:

    Pink, how are you so sure heroin abuse is a non-issue in New Hope?

    • chrysanthemum2636@yahoo.com' Calypso says:

      I can 100% say heroin IS an ongoing problem in New Hope and Lambertville. I know people whose children are addicted. People I knew have died of overdoses. Utterly pointless to pretend that this stuff cannot be going on in our towns, because it is, and has been going on for a long time.

  3. Good work. Get this scum off the streets. A disgrace to a fine Irish name.

  4. Kind of wish NHFP wouldn’t cut and paste news stories from other media outlets and just keep this website strictly about unique issues about NH.

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