Red Hill, Zionsville Men Arrested in $7 Million Mexico-to-Lehigh Valley Meth Ring
Two area men were arrested last week as part of a lengthy investigation by state narcotics agents that netted 23 suspected drug dealers and traffickers in a crystal methamphetamine ring that stretched from Mexico to the Lehigh Valley.
The group allegedly distributed $7 million worth of crystal meth and marijuana over the past five years.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced the arrests last Wednesday following a 15-month investigation.
James “Jimbo” Schwar, 35, of the 300 block of Main Street, Red Hill, and Brian Ehret, 43, of the 8400 block of Orchard Road, Zionsville, were arrested April 16.
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.
Ehret is charged with two counts of corrupt organizations, two counts of possession with the intent to deliver, one count of criminal conspiracy to possess with the intent to deliver, one count of criminal use of a communication facility, one count of dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and one count of possession of a controlled substance.
Schwar is currently in Lehigh County Prison. He is being represented by attorney Charles Laputka of Allentown.
According to the court records, no bail will be accepted or posted until a legitimacy hearing is held. That hearing will determine whether or not bail money was the proceeds of drug activity.
Ehret’s custody status and representation were unknown as of press time.
Kane said the leaders of the organization were identified as Gary Kuehner of Bethlehem and Michael Lehrman of Danielsville. Evidence and testimony regarding the alleged drug trafficking was presented to a statewide grand jury, which recommended that criminal charges be filed, the press release stated.
A grand jury found that Carmen Wahlfeld, 49, of San Diego, California secured large amounts of crystal methamphetamine from a source in Mexico and delivered the drugs to Las Vegas, Nevada. It was then packaged and shipped through FedEx to the Lehigh Valley.
According to the grand jury, shipments were made to Pawel Gajewski, 36, of New Tripoli, who then supplied the crystal meth to Kuehner. Kuehner and Scott Morgan, 32, of Allentown, 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 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.
“The time for denying that Mexican drug trafficking organizations are working in Pennsylvania is over,” Kane said. “People can no longer afford to bury their heads in the sand, denying that this problem exists. My office has taken action and we are committed to removing this threat to our communities.”
The investigation is ongoing, Kane said.