Police in Montgomery County, working with law enforcement officials here and in Bucks, Delaware, Chester and Philadelphia counties, said this week they have busted a large drug-trafficking ring.
Police arrested Jose "Mauricio" Rodriguez-Cordero, of the 600 block of Chain Street in Norristown, along with 20 other suspects, and charged them with a litany of drug-related offenses.
Charges have been lodged against four others still at large. The police work was called Operation Chain-Link.
Using an undercover agent and wiretapping, police said they followed Rodriguez-Cordero, known casually as "Mauricio."
Police linked him to cocaine, marijuana and prescription-medication traffickers and users in Philadelphia and its suburbs.
On Dec. 20, 2011, "Mauricio" paid the undercover agent $27,500 in cash for one kilogram of cocaine and asked that another kilogram of cocaine be "fronted" to him with the promise of payment later, police said.
"Mauricio" was arrested during the transaction, and as a result, 19 residences in this area were searched and evidence seized, police said Jan. 25.
Detectives also learned of a marijuana trafficking operation based in a King of Prussia hotel room. They were able to trace the drug-trafficking organization to supply sources in New York State and Canada.
Evidence seized from both stings included nine ounces plus four kilograms of cocaine, an estimated 92 pounds of pot, nine firearms, eight drug scales, 53 cell phones, $168,151.50 in cash, and a shrine to Jesus Malverde, known as the patron saint of drug dealers, police said.