Montgomery Co. court finds man guilty of drug charges

A 30-year-old Upper Merion man arrested in October 2010 was declared guilty on seven counts of drug trafficking by a Montgomery County judge on Monday. The man was one of seven arrested after a sting operation conducted by the District Attorney's Narcotics Enforcement Team and Drug Task Force. The man agreed to a bench trial for his felony drug charges and gave up his right to a jury trial slated for April 23.

He was found guilty on seven felony counts including corrupt organization, drug trafficking, criminal use of a communication facility and criminal conspiracy. The defendant and co-conspirators reportedly have links to a Mexican drug cartel. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will likely deport the defendant after he serves a lengthy prison sentence.

The county authorities built their case against the defendants during a three-week period in 2010 that included wiretaps on five cell phones. They also followed them to meetings at restaurants in Norristown and cocaine deliveries to high-rise apartments.

Two of the co-conspirators were also in court Monday challenging the authenticity of the voice recordings from the intercepted phone calls. It is up to the government to provide proof of the accuracy of wiretaps and recordings. They must also prove:

•The device could accurately record the conversations

•The officer was trained and competent to use the device

•The recordings are correct and authentic

•The recordings are not edited in any way

•The recordings were preserved appropriately

•The people speaking are identified

•The conversations recorded were not coerced and made voluntarily

Source: The Times Herald, "Drug 'Kingpin of Prussia' guilty of cocaine trafficking," Keith Phucas, April 9, 2012

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