Multimillion-dollar, cross-country drug ring busted

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and other law enforcement officials are shown during the announcement Thursday morning of the results of an investigation into a suspected drug trafficking ring in Montgomery County. (Photo by Jenny DeHuff. Digital First Media)

NORRISTOWN — The Montgomery County District Attorney announced Thursday that police seized $1,600,000 worth of marijuana during “Operation Weed Whacker.”

Two brothers, Dennis Frederick, 40, of Drexel Hill and Jeffery Fredrick, 32, of Philadelphia, were the initial subjects in the eight-month-long investigation that ended when police served 18 search warrants on May 7 and confiscated 400 pounds of marijuana, $689,000 in cash, four guns, seven cars and more than 30 cell phones.

According to the press release, the investigation began in Whitpain Township when the county’s Narcotics Enforcement Team started targeting the trafficking of high-grade marijuana.

Police applied for wiretap authorization on April 19 of this year and shortly after detectives learned that hundreds of pounds of the drug were being provided from California grower, Charles Sadrin.

Sadrin, 57, of Lincoln, Calif., would ship the pot in large, orange tool boxes from Sacramento, Calif., to Delaware County using a freight service, the release said. He would then rent a truck, pick up the containers and deliver them to Dennis Fredrick at a garage in the 1100 block of Sigel Street in Philadelphia. Sadrin would then return the empty tool boxes to Sacramento using the same service.

Records from the freight service showed on 28 different occasions, Sadrin shipped more than 3,673 pounds of marijuana to Pennsylvania between January 2012 and April 22, 2013, the press release said. The total cost of those shipments is estimated around $14,692,000, the press release said.

The investigation came to a head when detectives learned of a three-container shipment from Sadrin coming to the state on May 6.

The next day, police served the search warrants while Sadrin, Dennis Fredrick and Ernest Peterkin, 24, of Philadelphia, were in the middle of a transaction, the release said. Inside the garage on Sigel Street, police found approximately 271 pounds of marijuana and $450,000 in cash, the press release said.

Along with the Fredrick brothers, Sadrin and Peterkin, police arrested four more men — Stanislav Dubovsky, 26, and Martin Williams, 31, both of Philadelphia, and Earl DeSantis, 45, and John Walker, 29, both of Delaware County.

Dennis and Jeffery Fredrick and Sadrin were arraigned on May 7 before District Judge Francis Lawrence. Their bail was set at $4,000,000 each and they were all determined to be flight risks, the press release said.

The men are being charged with corrupt organization, the manufacturing, delivery and possession of a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy and other related charges, the press release said.

Detectives went to California to assist the Sacramento police in their investigation of Sadrin. Search warrants were served for his bank accounts, safe deposit boxes and a storage facility, the release said.

According to the release, $20,000 was taken from a safe deposit box in California.

The other defendants are in custody and will have their preliminary arraignments Thursday afternoon in Skippack.

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