Drug Ring Bust Exposes Possible Hole In Air Cargo Shipment - New York News

Drug Ring Bust Exposes Possible Hole In Air Cargo Shipment

Posted: Updated:
The Frederick Brothers The Frederick Brothers
PHILADELPHIA -

It doesn't look like much, just a small garage in the middle of the 1100 block of Sigel Street in the heart of South Philadelphia. But to hear investigators tell it, this was ground zero for a major drug operation that generated $15 million in one year.

"The only way to describe this was massive," says District Attorney Risa Ferman.

When narcotics agents from Montgomery County raided this place back in May, they found 287 pounds of high grade marijuana worth over $1.5 million dollars and $450,000 in cash. It was stashed in a big commercial tool boxes.

"The volume of drugs that were being brought into the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, that were being distributed on the streets was absolutely huge," reflects DA Ferman.

Investigators say it turns out this wasn't the first time drugs were stashed here right under the nose of the local mob. And believe it or not, the wiseguys didn't have a piece of this high end drug ring or a hand in it. This drug ring was lead by the Frederick Brothers, Dennis and Jeffrey.

"We're talking about an organization that in less than a year has moved $14.5 million dollars," says DA Ferman.

But the question that still puzzles investigators working this case is how did big marijuana shipments like these make their way across country from California via private air cargo and go completely undetected, not once, but more than two dozen times in just one year.

"Using these private freight companies was something that was relatively new to us," admits DA Ferman.

IN fact, investigators charge that 53-year-old Charles Sadrin in Sacramento, California shipped drugs to the Frederick Brothers' drug organization here in South Philadelphia 28 times from January 2012 to May 2013. He allegedly used 57 rigid commercial tool boxes stuffed with drugs and no one detected it or did anything to stop it.

"What we found here is that there really were no checks. These huge tool containers with hundreds of pounds of marijuana were loaded and transported across the country. They were delivered to this area and the person ultimately who we arrested would travel from California into this area to collect them, really without any questions being asked," says Ferman.

Investigators say Sadrin would pack the drugs into these tool boxes ship them via forward air cargo in Sacramento, California. They would arrive here at Forward Air's regional warehouse in Folcroft, Delaware County. Sadrin would fly cross country, following the drugs, stay at a local motel, rent a pickup truck and scoop up the tool boxes at Forward Air, then deliver them to the Frederick's in South Philly.

"The fact that people were able to move something illegal from one end of the country all the way to the other and nobody was the wiser is very troubling," says Ferman.

The Transportation Safety Administration, known to everyone as the TSA, told FOX 29 it doesn't inspect private air cargo, neither does the Drug Enforcement Administration known as the DEA. Sure, the TSA inspects cargo on commercial flights, but not for drugs. The TSA is looking for explosives or weapons that could bring an aircraft down.

"That to me looks like a hole. In this particular case it was drugs, but what's to say it's not going to be weapons or ammunition or something else that would be used in a place to harm other people," says Ferman.

It's a real problem that has to be investigated," says Ed Turzanski. "And I would suggest if it's going on here, it's going on in other places."

Ed Turzanski is a local counter terrorism expert. He was stunned to learn that 28 different shipments of 57 containers loaded with nearly 4,000 of high grade pot, were shipped undetected by a private air carrier into Philadelphia. Turzanski worries about what else could get shipped like this.

"If it's going on with illicit drugs, it may be going on with other materials that can be used precisely for the purposes that the whole thing was designed to prevent, terrorist activity of some sort," he says.

The TSA does have a program for pre-inspection of cargo shipped by private air cargo companies. It allows private carriers to have their cargo pre-screened at various private inspection centers on their own before its shipped. The TSA certifies and approves each inspection facility.

"Either no one was watching or the level of scrutiny was virtually non existent. This is a hole. There's clearly a deficiency in the freight transportation system. By allowing companies to do this on their own. To certify that its done. We really have no way of knowing there's any level of scrutiny or not," says Ferman.

"You have to start digging to find out who was it that allowed this to pass, was it incompetence or was there criminal intent," says Turzanski.

Sadrin's cargo shipments of pot were supposed to pass through a pre-screening facility in California on their way to Philadelphia. Ferman says Sacramento police are still investigating how all this dope got shipped out of California 28 different times in one year and not one load was discovered to stopped.

"How many times were they able to do it, what other things were other people able to move. I mean this is a huge problem..." says DA Ferman.

DA Risa Ferman tells us Forward Air was completely cooperative with her investigation. A company spokesman would not discuss the shipments citing the ongoing criminal investigation.

The Frederick Brothers and Charles Sadrin were recently released after their $4 million on bail was reduced. They could go on trial this fall. By the way, the marijuana sells for $1,500 a pound in California, it sells for $4,000 a pound here. The defendants could go on trial in the fall.

  • Dave SchratwieserMore>>

  • Newborn of Pregnant Woman Killed In Frankford Dies

    Newborn of Pregnant Woman Killed In Frankford Dies

    Monday, September 15 2014 5:23 PM EDT2014-09-15 21:23:15 GMT
    Police say the 25-year-old Megan Doto was full-term when someone shot her in the face with a .40-caliber, fully automatic weapon just before noon.
    Police say the 25-year-old Megan Doto was full-term when someone shot her in the face with a .40-caliber, fully automatic weapon just before noon.
  • An Inside Look At The Philadelphia Police Department's DIVRT Program

    An Inside Look At The Philadelphia Police Department's DIVRT Program

    Wednesday, September 10 2014 5:52 PM EDT2014-09-10 21:52:35 GMT
    Almost every day we show you surveillance videos that help get dangerous criminals off the street.FOX 29's Dave Schratwieser takes us inside Philadelphia's program that's putting those criminals behind bars.It's a plea heard all too often when police put out surveillance video of a crime like of a shooting last week that left a 49-year-old Wynnefield man paralyzed from the waist down.As victim's families plead for the public's help, detectives scramble to find video to identify the shooter. I...
    Almost every day we show you surveillance videos that help get dangerous criminals off the street.FOX 29's Dave Schratwieser takes us inside Philadelphia's program that's putting those criminals behind bars.It's a plea heard all too often when police put out surveillance video of a crime like of a shooting last week that left a 49-year-old Wynnefield man paralyzed from the waist down.As victim's families plead for the public's help, detectives scramble to find video to identify the shooter. I...
  • Police Issue Arrest Warrant For Suspect In Shooting That Left Victim Paralyzed

    Police Issue Arrest Warrant For Suspect In Shooting That Left Victim Paralyzed

    Sunday, September 7 2014 3:18 PM EDT2014-09-07 19:18:37 GMT
    Philadelphia police say they have issued an arrest warrant for Allan Stokes, 23, of the 5700 block of Harmer Street in Philadelphia.
    Philadelphia police say they have issued an arrest warrant for Allan Stokes, 23, of the 5700 block of Harmer Street in Philadelphia.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Kent State University blasts red-stained sweatshirt sold by Urban Outfitters

    Kent State University blasts red-stained sweatshirt sold by Urban Outfitters

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 1:28 AM EDT2014-09-16 05:28:05 GMT
    A sweatshirt being sold by Urban Outfitters featuring fake blood stains and tattered edges with the logo of Kent State University, where four students were killed in a 1970 incident that shocked America, is “beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life,” university officials said.
    A sweatshirt being sold by Urban Outfitters featuring fake blood stains and tattered edges with the logo of Kent State University, where four students were killed in a 1970 incident that shocked America, is “beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life,” university officials said.
  • Police: 13-Year-Old Shot In Hunting Park

    Police: 13-Year-Old Shot In Hunting Park

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 12:28 AM EDT2014-09-16 04:28:27 GMT
    Police say a 13-year-old was shot in the city's Hunting Park section by Old York Road and Erie Ave on Monday night.
    Police say a 13-year-old was shot in the city's Hunting Park section by Old York Road and Erie Ave on Monday night.
  • Authorities Continue To Investigate State Police Barracks Shooting

    Authorities Continue To Investigate State Police Barracks Shooting

    Monday, September 15 2014 11:24 PM EDT2014-09-16 03:24:00 GMT

    State police say one trooper is dead and another is injured after a shooting at a state police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania. 

    State police say one trooper is dead and another is injured after a shooting at a state police barracks in northeastern Pennsylvania. 

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Report: health risks at some nail salons

    Report: health risks at some nail salons

    Monday, September 15 2014 10:28 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:28:27 GMT
    One of the most surprising findings in a report from the New York City public advocate is that city officials have virtually no authority over how nail salons are run. The city can't enforce standards like they do with restaurants, so it's clearly a case of beauty buyer beware. We get our nails done without thinking too much about it.
    One of the most surprising findings in a report from the New York City public advocate is that city officials have virtually no authority over how nail salons are run. The city can't enforce standards like they do with restaurants, so it's clearly a case of beauty buyer beware. We get our nails done without thinking too much about it.
  • Car strikes toddler; driver arrested

    Car strikes toddler; driver arrested

    Monday, September 15 2014 10:15 PM EDT2014-09-16 02:15:49 GMT
    Police on Long Island say a 30-year-old driver has been arrested in connection with an accident that injured a 3-year-old girl being pushed in a stroller. Police say Scott Shea of Middle Island was driving a Jeep northbound on William Floyd Parkway, just south of Montauk Highway, when he struck the toddler at about 3:45 p.m. Monday.
    Police on Long Island say a 30-year-old driver has been arrested in connection with an accident that injured a 3-year-old girl being pushed in a stroller. Police say Scott Shea of Middle Island was driving a Jeep northbound on William Floyd Parkway, just south of Montauk Highway, when he struck the toddler at about 3:45 p.m. Monday.
  • Lawsuit settlements reached in Metro-North crash

    Lawsuit settlements reached in Metro-North crash

    Monday, September 15 2014 8:39 PM EDT2014-09-16 00:39:39 GMT
    Four of 28 people who sued the Metro-North Railroad in federal court after being injured in a Bridgeport train crash last year have settled with the commuter railroad.
    Four of 28 people who sued the Metro-North Railroad in federal court after being injured in a train crash in Connecticut last year have settled with the commuter railroad.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices