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$7 Million Mexico-to-Lehigh Valley Meth Ring Busted

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HARRISBURG, Pa., (CBS) – A crystal methamphetamine ring, which stretched from Mexico to the Lehigh Valley, has been broken up by state narcotics agents, the PA Attorney General announced on Wednesday.

Officials say the ring allegedly distributed $7 million worth of crystal meth over the past five years.  After a 15-month investigation, 23 people are facing charges.

Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane identified the leaders of the organization as Gary Kuehner of Bethlehem and Michael Lehrman of Danielsville.

Officials say the grand jury found that Carmen Wahlfeld secured large amounts of crystal methamphetamine from a source in Mexico and delivered the drugs to a location in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it was packaged and shipped through FedEx to the Lehigh Valley.

According to the grand jury, shipments were made to Pawel Gajewski of New Tripoli who then supplied the crystal meth to Kuehner.  Kuehner and Scott Morgan of Allentown, allegedly distributed crystal methamphetamine to customers throughout Lehigh and Northampton counties.

Officials say agents estimate that the organization is responsible for distributing at least four pounds of crystal methamphetamine a month with an estimated street value totaling $7 million over the past five years.

Through court-authorized wiretaps, agents were able to determine that the organization also sold marijuana throughout the Lehigh Valley.  Kuehner, allegedly a major supplier of this marijuana, obtained the drugs from James “Jimbo” Schwar, of Red Hill.

Over the course of the investigation agents recovered 103 handguns and rifles, $49,000, six cars, four motorcycles, a four wheeler, as well as various amounts of drug paraphernalia.

Kane says the investigation is ongoing.

The list of those facing charges is as follows:

Gary Kuehner, 32, of Bethlehem, is charged with 10 counts of unlawful delivery or manufacture of a controlled substance, five counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

Michael Lehreman, 45, of Danielsville, is charged with 13 counts of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, one count of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

Maria Wahlfeld, 49, of San Diego, Calif., is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

Pawel Gajewski, 36, of New Tripoli, is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activites.

Robert Nigro, 51, of Allentown, is charged with five counts of possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

Scott Morgan, 32, of Allentown, is charged with seven counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, five counts of unlawful delivery or manufacture of a controlled substance, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

Lyle Dietz, 58, of Allentown, is charged with three counts of corrupt organizations, three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

Kimberly Kerstetter, 39, of Orefield, is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of endangering the welfare of children, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

John Kerstetter, 38, of Orefield, is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, two counts of endangering welfare of children, and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

James “Jimbo” Schwar, 35, of Red Hill, is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

Matthew Baker, 31, of Allentown, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of unlawful delivery or manufacture of a controlled substance, one count of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Mark Balas, 38, of Whitehall, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver.

Shane Wechsler, 38, of Walnutport, is charged with one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

Michael Stroh, 51, of Slatington, is charged with one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

Michael Gaspar, 37, of Bath, is charged with one count of endangering the welfare of children, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

Diana Southard, 44, of Bethlehem, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess a controlled substance, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of possession of a controlled substance, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

Robert Wells, 44, of Pocono Pines, is charged with one count of criminal use of a communication facility and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

Steven Keeler, 37, of Walnutport, is charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Todd Bohlen, 52, of Center Valley, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of possession of a controlled substance, and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Brian Ehret, 43, of Zionsville, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

Justin Taglioli, 34, of Emmaus, is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, and one count of possession of a controlled substance.

Zackery Quaye, 34, of Allentown, is charged with four counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

Dean Desantis, 51, of Belle Mead, N.J., is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of unlawful delivery of a controlled substance, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, and one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities.

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