The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office has charged five people in an alleged organized crime ring that reportedly sold cocaine out of a local restaurant.
Gilbert Davalos Gonzalez, 44, of Harrisburg; George Velez-Ayala, 31, of Steelton; Sergio Becerra Santiago, 30, of Harrisburg; Carlos Javier Mendoza, 52, of Harrisburg; and Emmanuel Rodriguez Dejesus, 35, of Harrisburg, have all been charged with felony racketeering and conspiracy to commit felony racketeering, as well varying counts of felony drug manufacturing charges after police say they were selling cocaine out of Mendoza’s restaurant, M&J Pizza Shop.
The six-month investigation, which began with an arrest in State College in September, involved numerous controlled purchases, wiretaps and a search of Velez-Ayala’s home, which uncovered about 500 grams of cocaine, according court records.
On Sept. 24, State College Police apprehended a man referred to as T.H. who had been selling cocaine from his apartment, a grand jury finding of facts stated.
T.H. told police he had purchased numerous ounces of cocaine from Mendoza and Gonzalez at Mendoza’s restaurant, police said.
Over the next six months, T.H. assisted police in conducting multiple controlled purchases of cocaine from the group, sometimes in excess of 50 grams each and costing nearly $2,000, according to the grand jury report.
Several of the purchases were allegedly conducted in an office inside M&J Pizza Shop, which is located in the Cedar Cliff Mall.
Through surveillance and court-approved wiretaps, investigators with the Attorney General’s Office were able to connect all five men to the operation, the grand jury report stated.
During some of the phone conversations, the men used automotive language in an attempt to conceal their illicit behavior, court records showed.
In one conversation, the cocaine was referred to as an engine and referred to lower quality cocaine as the “little engine,” according to the grand jury.
Santiago and Gonzalez were denied bail and are currently in Cumberland County Prison.
Mendoza is in Cumberland County Prison in lieu of $150,000 bail.
Dejesus was released on $75,000 unsecured bail, and Velez-Ayala was released from prison after posting $100,000 bail, according to court records.
All five men are schedule to appear in court for preliminary hearings on May 25.
Thanks to The Sentinel.
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