State, local officials take down large drug trafficking ring in Kensington

Photo credit Darwin Brandis/Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — State prosecutors and the Philadelphia police say they have taken down another drug trafficking ring in Kensington, pulling 8,633 doses of heroin and fentanyl and 1,533 grams of cocaine off the street.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the operation involved 22 people, eight of whom have been charged, including the ringleader and two high-level dealers.

Authorities from eight different law enforcement organizations also seized about $30,000 in cash, 560 grams of crack cocaine and seven firearms, including a ghost gun and a semi-automatic shotgun.

“We are also investigating the ties that members of this organization were responsible for several of the conflicts and gun-related violence seen in the Kensington neighborhood over this period of time,” he said.

Chris Beauford, Joseph Stanton Sr., Joseph Stanton Jr., Rasun Owens, Christina Calhoun, Erik Severino, Coraliz Bizaldi, and Kareem Briggs are each charged with corrupt organizations, illegal proceedings, and other narcotics-related offenses. Five of them are also charged with illegally possessing a firearm as a felon and possessing a gun with an obliterated serial number, known as a ghost gun.

“Each of these organizations are major drivers of the violence we see in our communities,” Shapiro continued. “Even when they’re not pulling the trigger directly, which they do often, they make everyday citizens believe they need a firearm to feel safe. They’re inextricably linked to the violence in this great city.”

Officials are still looking for the other 14 members of the ring.

This is the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General’s sixth drug trafficking ring takedown since the inception of the Kensington Initiative partnership, which started three years ago.