By Brad Segall and Walt Hunter
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Montgomery County authorities announced the arrests of more than 30 people involved in what they say was an extensive drug trafficking operation that peddled cocaine, heroin and crystal meth on the streets of the Philadelphia region.
The investigation was dubbed “Operation Snow and Ice Removal.”
During a news conference Wednesday, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said the investigation started a year ago with a drug trafficker in Colombia.
Ferman said it was a call she received from a concerned citizen; a family member worried about a loved one who was hooked on drugs.
Prosecutors say the phone call from the drug victim’s family is a sign families are fighting back against drugs in their communities and those accused of selling them.
Ferman said there was enough information from that call to set up wiretaps and intercept cell phone conversations.
One target, Michael Daly, Ferman said ran his operation like a pizza shop.
“We heard him on the wiretap saying ‘listen let me tell you what … I’m running around all day … I’m like the Domino’s guy … 30 minutes or less or it’s free,’” Ferman said.
While Ferman said she doubts he gave it away, she said someone that brazen needed to be taken down.
Evidence seized included $70,000 in crystal meth, $38,000 in cocaine, eight firearms, five cars and nearly $45,000 in cash and bank accounts. Also seized was a powerful horse tranquilizer that is used to cut heroin.
In Bucks County ,Maggie Anorelcyzk, whose daughter has fought a seven-year battle with heroin addiction, has spoken out and helped produce a video titled “Heroin Kills.”
Mrs. Anorelcyzk, who has no connection to the Montgomery County investigation, told CBS 3’s Walt Hunter she hopes the video will help raise awareness among parents that no child, in any neighborhood, is safe from potentially using and becoming addicted to deadly drugs.
At mid-afternoon, most of the alleged ringleaders were arraigned, with bail set as high as half a million dollars.
The video, prosecutors say, and the phone call to Montgomery County officials a clear sign that families of drug victims are fighting as never before to protect their communities and their loved ones.