OLYPHANT — Another cocaine ring has been broken up in northeastern Pennsylvania, and this time investigators said the cocaine came with a side of pizza!
Five people are charged in the drug trafficking operation that investigators said used pizza boxes to deliver drugs.
Investigators said the latest cocaine bust in Lackawanna County was based out of a local restaurant in Olyphant.
Those involved in the dealing would deliver drugs in pizza boxes. Now five people were arrested for what is being called “Operation Takeout.”
The men from Lackawanna and Wyoming counties are accused of trafficking $700,000 of cocaine through Larussa’s Italian Cafe in Olyphant.
According to the attorney general’s office, David Kelm was the ringleader. He allegedly purchased kilo quantities of cocaine in Philadelphia, and then resold it to individuals in pizza boxes as a front.
“It`s unusual, it`s unusual for a restaurant like this, situated in a public neighborhood, in a town like Olyphant and neighboring towns as well,” said Tim Doherty, Deputy Attorney General.
Eric Gruzensky denied the allegations as he walked out of a district justice’s office in Archbald.
“I have a family, and I was involved in stuff what they`re alleging me on is, I have no comment. I have no idea. I have no idea,” said Gruzesky of Scranton.
This came just a couple of weeks after another major drug ring was broken up in Wayne County. Operation Penalty Stroke busted up a cocaine ring based out of the Red Maple Golf Course in Waymart. Investigators charged 20 people in that case alone.
The state attorney general said much of the cocaine from Operation Take-out was paid for by checks from Charles Yaskulski’s business account with Eagle Warranty Company, and many of the drugs were hidden in the ceiling tiles of his office.
“It`s a serious problem, wherever you have cocaine being distributed in this area the way it is, on a regular basis, it`s a serious problem,” said Kathleen Kane.
The five individuals were all arraigned in Archbald Friday morning and four are in Lackawanna County with bails ranging from $100,000 to $500,000. One of the men is out on bail.
The Operation Takeout ring is scheduled to be back in court next Friday.