A collaborative effort between Lancaster County and Berks County Drug Task Forces and Ephrata police resulted in arrests this week of a major drug supplier and his wife.
William Ortiz Jr., 39, and, Holly D. Ortiz, 29, both are charged with felony drug-dealing after an extensive surveillance operation that included undercover buys and the execution of search warrants.
Law-enforcement officials believe Mr. Ortiz was a high-level dealer in Lancaster County, and surrounding areas, and had been for some time.
Search warrants were served this week on two locations, resulting in seizures of drugs and vehicles.
Notably, 1,250 bags of heroin (37 grams, in all) were seized from a storage unit. Police also recovered quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine. Total estimated street value of all the drugs is over $11,000.
The investigation of both defendants is ongoing as there were numerous heroin overdoses, some fatal, in Ephrata during the time the couple was known to be selling there.
“Taking this much heroin off the street is very likely to save at least one life,” District Attorney Craig Stedman said Friday.
Officials believe Mr. Ortiz brought drug supply into the area from New Jersey, where he formerly lived. He sold, on numerous occasions, to undercover detectives. Mrs. Ortiz also sold to detectives.
"Heroin has reached epidemic proportions and is killing people at levels never seen before," Stedman said, noting Pennsylvania is believed to have the third-most heroin users in the country.
The arrests resulted from a three-month investigation of Mr. and Mrs. Ortiz.
William Ortiz Jr. is at Lancaster County Prison on $600,000 bail.
Holly D. Ortiz is at Lancaster County Prison on $100,000.
Berks County authorities are expect to file additional charges in coming days. Those charges will likely result in additional bail.
They are presumed innocent.
Spring Township (Berks County) police and Berks County Detectives also assisted in the investigation.
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