FBI: 'Large Scale' Drug Trafficker Charged After Evidence Recovered from Erie Apartment
The FBI has charged a man in what it is calling a "large scale" drug operation involving fentanyl and cocaine after evidence was recovered from his Erie apartment Friday.
Jared D. Gomes faces a federal charge for possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and more than 40 grams of a mixture containing fentanyl.
The FBI's Erie Area Gang Law Enforcement (EAGLE) Safe Streets Task Force started its investigation into the drug trafficking activities of Gomes and others in early October 2017.
Drugs connected to the case were found in a Subaru Outback in February 2018 when Pennsylvania State Police stopped a Subaru Outback that Gomes just drove from Erie to the Bronx, New York, according to the affidavit. The traffic stop happened on Interstate 80 as a woman associated with Gomes was driving the same vehicle. A search revealed an electronically operated secret compartment in the rear, hatchback area. Inside the compartment, the affidavit said there was a shopping-type bag with two kilograms of suspected cocaine and a baggie of unknown white powder packaged together with 3 baggies of unknown brown powder.
The FBI said the woman was identified as a resident of Long Island, N.Y., and she told investigators she borrowed the car from a friend to visit her boyfriend who lived on 12th street in Erie. Once the drugs were located, she said she did not know anything about the compartment or drugs in the car then requested an attorney when investigators asked for the name of her boyfriend, according to the affidavit.
Two cell phones and numerous receipts were also seized from the vehicle. One receipt appeared to be from a dry cleaning business that listed Gomes as the customer and included his phone number, the affidavit said. It also showed the items would be ready for pickup the day the Subaru was stopped. Investigators determined through phone records that Gomes was in contact with an inmate at a federal prison in Mississippi. A recorded prison call revealed Gomes told the inmate that the woman stopped by State Police lost two kilograms of cocaine, the FBI special agent said in the affidavit.
Testing later revealed the drugs included two kilograms of cocaine and 96.7 grams of fentanyl. The FBI laboratory determined a fingerprint found on one of the baggies used to package the drugs belonged to Gomes, the affidavit said.
The affidavit said the same woman stopped along I-80 left Erie in the same vehicle, traveled to Hagerstown, Mayland and returned to Erie in January 2018..
Investigators executed a search warrant on Gomes' apartment at Lovell Place in Erie Friday. They discovered a digital money counter, digital scale, numerous rolls of vacuum seal bags, a roll of plastic wrap, a FoodSaver vacuum sealer, 2 boxes of medical type face masks, a counterfeit money detector, latex gloves, 16 oz. bottle of Inositol powder, as well as numerous cell phones, according to the affidavit. Also recovered were several baggies containing approximately 500 grams of an unknown white and off-white powder, some of which investigators believe contain fentanyl and cutting agents in others. A notebook was also found where investigators said Gomes documented drug activities, specifically money owed to him.
The affidavit said the vacuum seal bags in the apartment were the same brand and size used for the drugs found during the traffic stop. Investigators also said the plastic wrap in the apartment appears to be consistent with the one used for the drugs discovered in the vehicle, and the phone used to make the call to an inmate was found during Friday's apartment search.
Gomes made his initial appearance before Federal Magistrate Judge Richard Lanzillo Friday morning. A detention hearing and preliminary exam is scheduled for Monday afternoon.