WILKES-BARRE, P.A. (WBRE/WYOU) — An investigation spanning eight months leads to the seizure of more than a million dollars in drugs in Luzerne County.
Officials are calling it one of, if not, the largest drug bust operations in the history of Wilkes-Barre.
A late-breaking update Wednesday night: three men from Wilkes-Barre were arraigned Wednesday afternoon and face federal firearm and drug trafficking charges. Eyewitness News caught up with some residents of the city of Wilkes-Barre who say they’re shocked to hear what police say was happening just a few doors away.
“It’s crazy. I mean, we never thought something like this would be on our street,” neighbor Danielle Vidzicki said.
Vidzicki and Derek Holminski watched investigators raid their neighbors’ home on Waller street. It’s one of the four houses in Wilkes-Barre City federal, state and local agents seized more than a million dollars in fentanyl and cocaine from collectively.
“It’s really sad that that’s just right down the street and you have no idea. And like, again, this is a very family-kinda block and it’s just right there,” Holminski said.
Weapons and more than $100,000 in cash were also discovered and determined to be proceeds from drug sales. Police say the bust is the result of an eight-month investigation into the “Montes de-Oca” drug trafficking organization. Agents say they are being investigated for distributing fentanyl and cocaine in Wilkes-Barre and communities nearby.
“We figured it was the right time to hit these places, and we hit them good today. So the eight months is well worth it,” Scranton Drug Enforcement Agency resident agent William Langan said.
The investigation was carried out by the DEA, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, Wilkes-Barre Police, Pennsylvania State Police and the Luzerne County Drug Task Force.
“I can tell you in many years of doing drug investigations, this by far has been one of the most productive investigations that I have ever seen. It will definitely put a damper on the drug trafficking not only in the city of Wilkes-Barre but the surrounding communities,” Wilkes-Barre Police Department Chief Joe Coffay said.
“The work today is gonna wake a lot of people up in this area, what’s going on and wake a lot of drug dealers up saying that, no, we’re not here to play. We’re here to take you off the streets,” Langan said.
Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown calling the results of the operation historic.
“That has to have a very serious impact on the drugs in the city of Wilkes-Barre. So, this is one of the largest drug busts if not the largest the history of the city of Wilkes-Barre,” Mayor Brown said.
Vidzicki and Holminski say they’re breathing a sigh of relief.
“That’s really great that they got them and it’s going to be better now hopefully,” Vidzicki said.
Erwin Montes Deoca, age 27, Alan Kevin Robles Montes Deoca, age 27 and Jonathan Fontanez, age 36, were taken into custody and are facing federal drug and firearms charges.
This investigation is ongoing and investigators tell Eyewitness News more arrests are possible.