Heroin/fentanyl ring taken down
MILFORD, PA — Authorities in Wayne and Pike have arrested seven people in connection with a heroin and fentanyl ring that was connected to at least three overdose deaths. The arrests came after a five-month long investigation into the sales of heroin and fentanyl by the Pennsylvania State Police Vice unit and county detectives from both Pike and Wayne counties.
Most of the suspects are local residents and include Jessica Phillips, age 30, of Lackawaxen; Carley Liguori, 27, of Blooming Grove; Diane Phillips, 55, of Lackawaxen; Wendy Fuehrer, 53, of Paupack Township; William Phillips III, 28, of Lackawaxen; Lauren Phillips, 34, of Lackawaxen and Charles Warnott, 35, of Honesdale. Francisco Abreu-Pena, 44, is still at large and his last known address was in the Bronx.
According to the affidavit of probable cause filed in support of the charges, investigators used controlled purchases of fentanyl/heroin, search warrants, electronic surveillance and witness interviews to build the case against the drug ring. The members of the ring traveled to Indianapolis, IN to pick up the drugs, which are believed to have originated in Mexico.
The investigation began in August of last year with a series of purchases of fentanyl and heroin by an informant. The informant bought the drugs from William Phillips, III, in Lackawaxen and Blooming Grove Townships. During two of the purchases, Carley Liguori drove William Phillips to a designated spot to buy the drugs. On one of the purchases, Liguori brought along her five-year old son.
Investigators made a purchase of fentanyl/heroin from Diane Phillips at a residence in Lackawaxen. In September, William Phillips, III was arrested after a search warrant found more than seven grams of heroin/fentanyl in his possession. Jessica Phillips was also arrested in September on a probation violation.
Later in September, Kyle Ackerson, 34, of Lackawaxen died of an overdose. An autopsy concluded that Ackerson had fentanyl, cocaine and alcohol in his system. The Pike County Coroner ruled Ackerson’s death as a result of mixed substance toxicity. During the investigation into this death, investigators obtained new leads on the source of the fentanyl coming into Wayne and Pike Counties. They learned that Francisco Abreu-Pena of the Bronx was bringing in quantities of fentanyl from New York City, and investigators were able to link the drugs used by Ackerson to Abreu-Pena and Wendy Fuehrer. For more information on this story visit