CHESTER — Police announced a major arrest in the battle against the opioid epidemic Monday with the removal of more than 1,000 bags worth of heroin from a residence on the 1100 block of Walnut Street.
“The thing about drug investigations is that you have to commit long-term to them,” said Chester Police Chief James Nolan IV. “There’s a process, and at the end of the process is a big hit like this … Once you put in all that time, you reap a big reward.”
Carlos Ojeda-Cortes, 33, is facing charges of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to an affidavit of probable cause written by city Officer Marc Barag.
Barag staked out Ojeda-Cortes’ residence around 4 p.m. Thursday in order to execute a search warrant, according to the affidavit. During surveillance, Ojeda-Cortes was found in the area of Ninth and Potter streets driving a black Ford F-150 pick-up truck.
Sgt. Matthew Goldschmidt conducted a traffic stop on Ojeda-Cortes and detained him, after which members of the city’s Police Narcotics Unit executed the search warrant at the Walnut Street residence with help from members of the Delaware County Drug Task Force.
Barag meanwhile made his way to the 900 block of Potter Street to read Ojeda-Cortes his Miranda Rights and explain that officers had a search warrant for his residence. Ojeda-Cortes was then taken back to the Walnut Street location to be present for the search.
Officer William Murphy and his K-9 partner, Chase, located a possible positive hit on a knot in a curtain in the defendant’s bedroom, according to the affidavit. A check of the curtain allegedly revealed two clear plastic bags filled with a total of 38 bundles of heroin in blue wax paper. Each bundle contained 14 bags of heroin for a total of 532 bags, according to the affidavit.
Another curtain on the same window also allegedly contained a purple latex glove concealing a clear knotted sandwich bag containing approximately 17.3 grams of loose heroin. Nolan said the loose heroin could have been bundled into another 500 bags with a street value of approximately $11,000.
Ojeda-Cortes also allegedly directed officers to a laundry basket in his room containing a metal sifter; black digital scale; toothbrush; blender; a brown box containing hundreds of unused blue wax paper sleeves with three plastic scoopers; a razor blade; and a Citizens Bank card containing suspected heroin residue. Those items are commonly used in the preparation and packaging of heroin for distribution and sale, according to the affidavit.
Also located in the bedroom were two small notebooks identified as drug sale ledgers, unused small rubber bands on a dresser, and $38 in cash. A blender base was also found in a bathroom next to the bedroom, according to the affidavit.
Ojeda-Cortes additionally told Barag he had money concealed in a closet wall. A piece of wood used to support a closet shelf was removed, revealing a metal junction box containing $10,000, according to the affidavit.
Officers also seized two cell phones, $411 in cash and four vehicles: The Ford F150, a Mercedes E350, a Suzuki GSXR 1300 motorcycle and a Yamaha R6 motorcycle. The seized drugs were later field tested at Chester Police Headquarters and determined to be heroin.
Ojeda-Cortes was preliminarily arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Walter Strohl on Friday and remanded to the county prison in Concord after failing to post 10% of $250,000 bail. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Sept. 26.
“We will continue to be vigilant in shutting down the drug trade to the best of our ability,” Nolan said.