Last Thursday, Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman announced that a multimillion drug trafficking ring had been taken down. “Operation: Weed Whacker” began after a phone call from a concerned citizen last September. The operation tracked 3,673 lbs. of marijuana that was shipped from California to southeast Pennsylvania and multiple people were arrested.
Three alleged ringleaders were arrested for involvement in the trafficking operation: Dennis Frederick, 40, of Drexel Hill; his brother Jeffrey Frederick, 32, of Philadelphia; and Charles Sadrin, 57, of Lincoln, California. All three were charged with the manufacture, delivery, and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, and other offenses.
The investigation lasted six months and involved surveillance, mobile tracking devices, confidential informants, and perhaps most importantly, wiretaps. Last September, a concerned citizen called the Montgomery County DA’s office to report that there was marijuana being sold in Whitpain. In November, authorities were told that the marijuana dealer was getting his marijuana from the Frederick brothers. By April, authorities allegedly learned that the Frederick brothers were getting that marijuana from Charles Sadrin, a major supplier in California. Sadrin would ship orange steel toolboxes containing marijuana from Sacramento, California to Delaware County using a freight service. Sadrin would fly to Philadelphia and rent a pickup truck to retrieve the toolboxes and would then meet with the Frederick brothers to sell them the marijuana. Freight records show that Sadrin shipped 57 of these toolboxes, containing a total of almost two tons of marijuana. The Frederick brothers would sell the marijuana for $4,000 per pound.
Authorities caught their “big break” on May 7, when Sadrin was allegedly delivering 271 lbs. of marijuana to Dennis Frederick, who authorities describe as the “CEO” of the operation. The three men were arrested and 400 lbs. of marijuana was seized, having a value of $1.6 million. Authorities also seized $690,000 in cash, 4 firearms, 7 vehicles, and 30 cell phones. Five other men were also arrested and charged with manufacture, delivery and/or possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance, criminal conspiracy, dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, and criminal use of communication facilities. Since they were determined to be a flight risk, the ringleaders’ bails have been set at $4 million each.