Three Philadelphians charged in connection with a record-level seizure of fentanyl last month in Lancaster County cannot post bail without showing the money did not come from drug proceeds, a district judge recently ruled.
District Judge David Miller also ordered the three individuals, following a joint preliminary hearing, face the charges in Lancaster County Court, finding enough evidence was presented to bound over the cases for trial(s).
Assistant District Attorney Travis S. Anderson presented testimony from a Lancaster County Drug Task Force detective who discussed the bulk kilogram of pure fentanyl and additional pound of fentanyl-laced heroin found during a Jan. 31 bust at a Manheim Township parking lot.
Charged with felony possession with intent to deliver (fentanyl) and conspiracy are: Eric Moran, 26; Luis C. Mercado, 32; and Katherine Joubert, 27.
All three are at Lancaster County Prison on $2 million bail apiece. They are presumed innocent.
Moran is also charged with misdemeanor counts of fleeing police and reckless endangerment. The detective testified of Moran’s attempt to flee the bust, driving a short distance with police and civilians closeby.
The kilogram fentanyl (about two pounds) seizure is believed to be the Drug Task Force’s largest – of pure fentanyl - in recent history.
At the hearing, Mercado and Joubert’s attorneys asked the judge for modification of existing bail conditions. ADA Anderson adamantly opposed the motion.
District Judge Miller denied changing the bail amounts while adding a condition that, should any of the three attempt to post bail, a hearing be held to determine the bail money is not from drug proceeds.
On Jan. 31, under the spotlight and assistance of a National Guard helicopter, Drug Task Force detectives boxed in a pair of vehicles involved in the drug movement and arrested everyone inside the vehicles.
The Task Force had information that a major movement of heroin would be happening that night, so they were set up and ready when the two suspect vehicles pulled into the parking lot.
Assistant District Attorney Jared Hinsey approved the filing of charges.
(In photo, from left: Moran, Mercado, Joubert.)
MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @BrettHambright