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Doylestown-Area Man Implicated in $3.5 Million Meth Operation

'Operation Blowout' caught 27 suspects police say are part of a methamphetamine ring that stretched from Mexico into Texas and up to Pennsylvania.

A four-year undercover investigation has resulted in the indictments of 27 people suspected of links to a crystal methamphetamine trafficking operation that stretched from Mexico and Texas and took root in Bucks, Montgomery, Berks, Lehigh and Tioga counties.

Officials believe the expansive network is responsible for distributing more than $3.5 million worth of crystal meth in southeastern and northern Pennsylvania, according to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.

Evidence obtained through undercover drug buys, wiretaps and other court-authorized surveillance was presented to a grand jury in 2011. That body returned in September 2012 with multiple criminal charges against each suspect.

The operation seized more than four pounds of crystal meth, one partially dismantled crystal meth lab, approximately 100 guns, $110,000 in cash and 16 vehicles.

Officers arrested 25 of the 27 suspects Tuesday and brought them before Magisterial Judge Daniel Baranoski for preliminary arraignments.

Among them was Dean Bowers, 46, whose last known address was 4605 Landisville Road, Doylestown, according to prosecutors.

Bowers is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 16 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Two of the suspects remain at large, Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan confirmed at a press conference on Wednesday. One arrest is imminent, he said, but the other suspect's whereabouts are currently unknown.

All defendants will be prosecuted in Bucks County by Chief Deputy Attorney General Andrew Rongaus, who told reporters that Bucks County was chosen because 65 percent of the suspects are from there.

According to a release by the Attorney General's office, the investigation originally started when separate undercover drug buys traced back to Robert Snyder of Pottstown and Wesley White of Roaring Branch in Tioga County and showed similarities, prompting the formation of “Operation Blowout.”

Further investigation unraveled the complex network, revealing suspected suppliers and smaller drug rings that branched off.

The investigators say that one of White's major suppliers was John Hodgson, 62, of Levittown. He is also accused of running a smaller crystal meth ring with six other suspects in Bucks County, including his brother, Joseph, 65, of Yardley, John McDonald, 61, who remains at large, Sherwood White, 63, of Levittown, Nancy Diaz, 53, of Levittown, Tina Erb, 51 of Bensalem and Elizabeth Naylon, 46, of Ivyland.

During the investigation, detectives say they discovered a broken down meth lab at a storage locker owned by Hodgson. Rongaus said that while there is no evidence that the four pounds of crystal meth confiscated by officers came from the meth lab, it was clear from the materials that drugs had been manufactured at that location.

Investigators tracked Hodgson's supply of meth to a Philadelphia man, Francis Gulich. In addition to providing ounce or pound quantities of drugs to Hodgson, Gulich allegedly worked with several other individuals to resell the drugs in Philadelphia and Bucks County, including Mark Kasper, Barbara Kasper, Philip Tomasella, Alexander Shepelenko, Joseph Bogner and James Simmer.

As the investigation continued, the report indicates, the ultimate source of the crystal meth distributed by Gulich and Hodgson was identified as Sim Bradley, of Philadelphia. Bradley is also accused of supplying meth to two other Bucks County men - Grady Dennis, of Willow Grove and Lee Wasser, of Perkasie.

According to the grand jury, Snyder was receiving bulk quantities of meth from sources in Mexico.  The drugs allegedly were moved across the U.S. border to McAllen, Texas, and then transported to a source in Reading, identified as Raul Cosme.

At a press conference Wednesday morning, Attorney General Linda Kelly thanked the detectives and officers from the multiple state and local agencies that participated in the investigation, called "Operation Blowout."

"This was a total team effort by all of the departments involved," said Kelly.

Kelly, Noonan and Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler acknowledged the work of officers from police departments in Philadelphia, Bristol, Doylestown, Muhlenberg, Pottstown, Oley, Athens, New Hanover, the Philadelphia division of the DEA and Delaware State Police.

A list of the defendants and the charges filed against them include:

Robert H. Snyder, 53, 136 South 8th St., Pottstown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 20 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, unlawful possession of a firearm, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Wesley B. White, 53, 972 Route 14, Roaring Branch, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 20 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Raul Cosme, 38, 33895 Fox Glove Run, Milford, Delaware, is charged with is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 20 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Sherwood W. White, 63, 2408 East Ave., Levittown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, two counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

John S. Hodgson, 62, 2408 East Ave., Levittown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 20 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Francis Gulich, 62, 1939 Grant Ave., Philadelphia, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 20 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Sim Bradley, 72, 7433 Walnut Lane, Philadelphia, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 20 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Marlene A. Albrecht, 46, 508 Keystone Drive, Dublin, Bristol, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 6 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Joseph C. Bogner, 47, 1045 Bath Road, Bristol, is charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, unlawful use of a communications facility and related offenses.

Dean Bowers, 46, 4605 Landisville Road, Doylestown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 16 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Joseph M. Ragnoli, 44, 4237 Smith Road, Wycombe, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 21 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Joseph R. Hodgson, 65, 1034 Cultipacker Road, Yardley, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Grady L. Dennis Jr., 46, 8633 Michener Ave., Philadelphia, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 2 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Nancy M. Diaz, 53, 16 Petunia Road, Levittown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 12 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Joseph R. Hodgson, 65, 1034 Cultipacker Road, Yardley, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Scott A. Hopkinson Sr., 42, 10 Horseshoe Lane, Levittown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 9 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Barbara Kasper, 39, 169 Cobalt Ridge Drive South, Levittown, is charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance.

Mark W. Kasper, 39, 169 South Cobalt Ridge Road, Levittown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 2 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

John McDonald, 61, formerly of Morrisville, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 2 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Elizabeth J. Naylon, 46, 96 Eisenhard Drive, Ivyland, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 13 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Joseph M. Ragnoli, 44, 4237 Smith Road, Wycombe, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 21 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Judson R. Route, 52, 2013 Ogdensburg Road, Roaring Branch, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 7 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Alexander Schepelenko, 66, 50 Dieter Ave., Morrisville, is charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, unlawful use of a communications facility and related offenses.

James Howard Simmers Sr., 34 Gamewood Road, Levittown, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 2 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

John D. Taylor, 53, 27 Buttonwood Road, Churchville, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 16 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Jeffrey A. Terry, 53, 30 Ginger Lane, Alsace Township, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 11 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Philip M. Tomasella, 40, 11 Echo Lane, Levittown, is charged with one count of possession of a controlled substance, unlawful use of a communications facility and related offenses.

Tina Marie Wagner-Erb, 51, 6279 Hulmeville Road, Bensalem, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 8 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

Lee Scott Wasser, 47, 205 Goldenrod Court, Perkasie, is charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization, 2 counts of delivery of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, unlawful use of a communications facility, dealing in unlawful proceeds and related offenses.

The foregoing arrest information was supplied by the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General. It does not indicate a conviction.

Bazzzzzz November 29, 2012 at 04:13 AM
This guy, Dean Bowers, was evicted from his home on Landisville Road two years ago!
Bob November 29, 2012 at 12:28 PM
Surprised how old everyone is... good job taking these guys down
Laura Freed November 29, 2012 at 02:12 PM
In the article they referenced one of the defendants as Joe Bonger; I was going to make a reference that perhaps he should be in the marijuana business - but then in the list of names it read "Joe Bogner" - which totally ruins my lame attempt at humor.
Melissa Kilderry November 29, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Wow.. glad they took these guys and girls down.
Dawn Byers November 30, 2012 at 01:06 PM
I had the same observation about the age thing! In a society where we seem to point our fingers at young people for drugs and alcohol, it is amazing to see this as well as the DUI list in the papers which is also made up of mostly 30 through 60 year olds. Perhaps we owe our young people an apology and try getting our acts together (speaking to the adults!!)
Sarah Larson (Editor) November 30, 2012 at 03:16 PM
More likely, it's got more to do with different generations' drugs of choice. You'd be horrified to know how popular heroin is in Bucks County high schools.
Wolfhounds77 November 30, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Sarah Not To mention the lives that have been taken by heroin. This not something new. it has been ignored by the community. I personally know of 3 death here in Doylestown. And that has been more than ten years ago.
Becky Ortlip Barlow November 30, 2012 at 05:06 PM
@Sarah - Very true! @Dawn - AGREE!
Steven Bohnel November 30, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Well, coming from a high school senior, I'd say weed is actually more popular. Not that heroin isn't, because there was a HUGE ring over at East around a year ago. Believe it or not, it's mostly because kids are bored. But as for this operation, nothing compares. Nearly 100 weapons? 4+ lbs of meth? This is INSANE.

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