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Suppliers of Upper Bucks Heroin Ring Get Up to 20 Years Each

December 19, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David A. Keightly Jr., 215.348.6342, dakeightly@buckscounty.org

Antoine Harris Shawn Norwood Daniel Moyer 
       Antoine Harris                  Shawn Norwood              Daniel Moyer

Jonathan King Michael Wentz
       Jonathan King                  Michael Wentz

Two Philadelphia men who admitted supplying most of the drugs for what prosecutors say was a large heroin ring in the Quakertown area were sentenced today to serve up to 20 years in state prison.

“You have supplied an entire region with heroin,” Bucks County Common Pleas Court Judge Wallace H. Bateman Jr. told Antoine Hakim Harris, 29, and Shawn Norwood, 35. “I think it’s fair to say that you have contributed to the poisoning of the community.”

Both men pleaded guilty to charges of delivery of a controlled substance and conspiracy.

Bateman ordered Norwood to serve consecutive sentences of seven to 15 years for heroin delivery and two to five years for conspiracy, for a total of nine to 20 years in prison.

Harris, whose criminal record was less extensive than Norwood’s, received consecutive sentences of seven to 15 years for heroin delivery and one to five years for conspiracy, for a total of eight to 20 years.

“This was a major drug distribution organization and it could not have operated without you,” the judge told the two.

Prosecutors allege that from 2014 through 2016, Harris and Norwood kept Upper Bucks heroin dealers flush with the illegal, addictive opiate.

From their base in Philadelphia, they sold up to 200 bundles per week for re-sale in the Quakertown area, Deputy District Attorney David A. Keightly Jr. said. That was enough for roughly 2,800 individual bags of heroin per week, Keightly told Bateman.

According to a Bucks County investigating grand jury presentment, the drug organization’s crimes “led to widespread addiction amongst young citizens of the Quakertown area,” caused numerous overdoses and endangered many lives, all while reaping vast financial profits. At least two people who were customers of the organization died of overdoses, the presentment said.

Ten of 14 defendants charged in connection with the heroin enterprise have now pleaded guilty. Still awaiting trial next month are the alleged leaders of the organization, which prosecutors say conducted almost $1 million in annual business.

Only one other defendant has been sentenced. On Dec. 4, Bateman ordered Michael Levi Wentz, 21, of Perkasie, to serve four and one-half to 10 years in state prison. Wentz pleaded guilty to delivery of a controlled substance and conspiracy, saying he sold drugs to support his own heroin addiction.

Also pleading guilty today were Daniel Keith Moyer, 26, of Richlandtown; and Jonathan Benjamin King, 28, of Quakertown. Their sentencings were deferred for at least 30 days.

Moyer, who Keightly said “acted as a mid-level dealer” for the organization, pleaded guilty to delivery of controlled substances and conspiracy. King, who participated in the drug-buying trips to Philadelphia, pleaded guilty to a corrupt organizations conspiracy charge.

Five other members of the drug ring who pleaded guilty in October had their sentencings continued today by Bateman until after the remaining four defendants are tried.

Neither Harris nor Norwood said he sold heroin to support a drug habit. Rather, both said they sold the drugs to help support their families, and that they had quit dealing and moved from the area by the time they were arrested.

Harris was taken into custody on Aug. 10 by U.S. Marshals in Winston-Salem, N.C., where he was working and living with his girlfriend and their three children.

Norwood, who said he has two children and supports two other children of his deceased sister, had moved to Virginia last summer after learning authorities planned to charge him. He was arrested there in November.

Harris, whose father was murdered when he was a child and grew up mostly in juvenile institutions, told Bateman he “would feel bad” if anyone tried to sell heroin to his children, ages 12, 11 and 9. He said he never thought about the effects his drug sales were having on those who used them.

“To my client, [selling heroin] was basically a way out” of a horrible environment for himself and his family, defense attorney Steven Jones argued. “My client didn’t have an end goal to be a kingpin in Quakertown. His goal was to get out.”

Norwood, like Harris, was raised by a single mother, and said he shoulders the financial responsibilities for his family, including his ailing mother and the two children of his sister, who was murdered by the children’s father.

“I put emotions over intellect,” in choosing to sell heroin, Norwood said.

“He made the unbelievably bad choice to follow that path” to support his family, defense attorney Thomas Joachim added. “There wasn’t any lavish spending. … He was basically making enough to support those who were closest to him.”

Bateman told the men they had likely destroyed the lives of others’ loved ones in the process.

“I can’t help but think how many people in the entire area became addicted” because of their crimes, the judge said. “Distribution of heroin has poisoned the community, and that is what this is really about.”

The case was investigated primarily by the Quakertown Borough Police Department and the Bucks County Detectives, and is being prosecuted by Keightly and Assistant District Attorney Jovin Jose.

Office of the District Attorney
Bucks County Justice Center
100 N. Main Street
Doylestown, PA 18901 
Phone: 215-348-6344 
Fax: 215-348-6299

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