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Two major Lebanon County heroin distributors convicted in federal court

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Apr 12, 2017 3:58 AM
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Photo by Ben Allen/WITF

Paraphernalia confiscated in a raid on a Lebanon County heroin distribution factory in 2015.

(Harrisburg) -- For the second time this week, law enforcement is putting pressure on people who distribute heroin.

Two men from the midstate have been convicted in federal court of running an extensive operation in Lebanon County.

A jury convicted 48-year-old Julio Aviles Senior and 30-year-old Michael Millan-Miranda of conspiring to distribute more than one kilogram of heroin.

Working together in 2015, federal and local law enforcement broke up the ring located at two buildings near downtown Lebanon.

Daryl Bloom, the head of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force in the US attorney's office, says hundreds of doses of heroin were produced every day at the site, with at least ten sellers, brokers, testers, and packagers all part of the operation.

"What was astounding about this operation was the routine manner in which he operated with his packagers who acted as factory workers, and were paid $500 a week to show up for their shift," says United States Attorney Bruce Brandler.

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Photo by Ben Allen/WITF

US Attorney Bruce Brandler.

He says he understands this action only addresses the supply side of the heroin crisis.

"And when multi-kilo level heroin dealers who are recividists, continue to engage in this type of operation, they need to know that they are going to face severe consequences and that's the message that we want to get out today," says Brandler.

Brandler says the tip about the operation actually came from someone addicted to the drug, who said her supply would have to be cut off for her to force herself into recovery.

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Photo by Ben Allen/WITF

Daryl Bloom, head of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force at the US Attorney's office, shows thousands of rubber bands that he says were confiscated at the heroin distribution factory in Lebanon County.

Brandler says federal authorities targeted Aviles because he had been previously convicted of drug trafficking, and he was distributing such a large quantity of drugs.

He acknowledges that locking up suppliers is only one part of the response to the heroin crisis, but he says it's a critical piece.

The convictions follow an announcement from state Attorney General Josh Shapiro that his office has arrested people involved in a York County heroin ring.

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Photo by Ben Allen/WITF

Guns confiscated from a Lebanon County heroin factory in 2015.

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