A Red Hill man was arrested on Tuesday as part of a 15-month investigation by state narcotic agents that netted 23 suspected drug dealers and traffickers in a crystal methamphetamine ring, which stretched from Mexico to the Lehigh Valley. The group allegedly distributed $7 million worth of crystal meth over the past five years.
Among those arrested was James Schwar, 35, of Red Hill. Schwar is charged with three counts of possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, two counts of corrupt organizations, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance. He is currently in Lehigh County Prison. An entry in the court docket indicates that no bail shall be accepted or posted until the court determines, after a hearing on the merits, the funds used to post bail are from a legitimate source.
According to a press release issued by Pa. Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane, the leaders of the organization are Gary Kuehner of Bethlehem, Lehigh County and Michael Lehrman of Danielsville, Northampton County. Evidence and testimony regarding the alleged drug trafficking was presented to a statewide investigating grand jury, which recommended that criminal charges be filed.
The grand jury found that Carmen Wahlfeld secured large amounts of crystal methamphetamine from a source in Mexico and delivered the drugs to a location in Las Vegas, Nevada, where it was packaged and shipped through FedEx to the Lehigh Valley.
According to the grand jury, shipments were made to Pawel Gajewski, who then supplied the crystal meth to Kuehner. Kuehner and Scott Morgan allegedly distributed crystal methamphetamine to customers throughout Lehigh and Northampton counties.
Agents estimate that the organization is responsible for distributing at least four pounds of crystal methamphetamine a month with an estimated street value totaling $7 million over the past five years.
Through the use of the wiretaps, agents were able to determine that the organization also sold marijuana throughout the Lehigh Valley. Kuehner, allegedly a major supplier of this marijuana, obtained the drugs from James "Jimbo" Schwar.
Over the course of the investigation agents recovered 103 handguns and rifles, $49,000 cash, six cars, four motorcycles, a four wheeler, as well as various amounts of drug paraphernalia.
Kane noted that the investigation is ongoing.