Authorites Shut Down Alleged Pocono Drug Ring

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MILFORD -- Prosecutors in Wayne and Pike Counties announced a big drug bust Friday, taking tens of thousands of dollars in heroin off the streets.

And D.A.s are crediting a change in Pennsylvania law with helping them catch the dealers.

Prosecutors and police laid out a spread of drugs, high-powered weapons, and cash at the Pike County district attorney's office in Milford, including 1,800 bags of heroin and $11,000 in cash. It's just some of what authorities say they seized in the drug network that stretched from New Jersey to Wayne and Pike Counties.

Among all this is a key to the arrest of seven people: cell phones, particularly the phones of two key alleged dealers Walter "Wizzy" Brown of New Jersey and Brandon Deforge of Greentown.

A change in Pennsylvania law allowed investigators to track their movements through G.P.S. on their multiple phones.

"It was certainly about time to allow us in law enforcement to use the technology to catch up with the technology being used by criminals," said Pike County D.A. Raymond Tonkin.

Tonkin showed a map of how they tracked Brown from New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

A new law allows investigators to get a warrant to track from state to state, using any phone owned by the dealer. Prosecutors say that helped set up undercover monitoring and undercover buys, leading to the bust.

"Now even if the person crosses state lines or changes phone, the law will allow us to easily monitor a second, third, or fourth phone that somebody has transferred to," Tonkin said.

"We know they use multiple track phones to evade, so it gives them an added tool in their tool box," Sen. Lisa Baker/(R) 20th District.

Law enforcement officials say they need all the help they can get to cut down on drugs and thus other crimes.

"As you know, heroin use just doesn't end with sitting down and using heroin, it can also lead to many other criminal activities," said Wayne County D.A. Janine Edwards.

Seven people are now in jail after the drug bust. Four of them are from Pike County, one from Wayne County and the other two from New Jersey.