PHILADEPHIA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Multiple people and thousands of grams of drugs have been seized after the Attorney Generals office said they shut down a large drug operation in a Philadelphia neighborhood.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the leaders of the operation Curtis Coates, Sr. and Curtis Coates, Jr., father and son, were stealing city bock corners in the neighborhood and selling them to drug dealers. The duo reportedly rented the corners for $3,000 per block and was making a profit of $30,000 a week.
“Coates and his son stole public city block corners and rented them for profit to drug dealers,” Shapiro said. “These are corners children wait for buses on, corners you cross to get to work. And they stole them and rented them for top dollar to bring poison and violence into these neighborhoods. Through this operation, we’ve taken back these corners stolen from this community.”
Shaprio said the operation was massive and was taken down on Wednesday, June 8 after a six-month investigation by the office’s Kensington Initiative. Multiple local, state and federal agencies carried out over 40 search warrants on properties and vehicles associated with the operation.
23 people including Coates, Sr. and Jr. were arrested. Over 2,000 grams of heroin/fentanyl were taken along with 47 grams meth, 3 assault style rifles, 26 handguns and $179,000 in cash. All have been charged with possession with intent to distribute, corrupt organizations, conspiracy, dealing in Illegal proceeds, and criminal use of communications facility. Eight people out of the 23 were also charges for persons not to possess a firearm.
“This is the largest one-day coordinated operation since the Kensington Initiative’s launch,” Shapiro. “And it’s another example of taking these organizations down from the top. My office is dedicated to protecting the public and to not leaving a single block behind.”
Get daily updates on local news, weather and sports by signing up for the WTAJ Newsletter.
Shaprio said the cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General Melissa Francis.