7 Charged With Drug Smuggling

Posted: July 09, 1986

Seven people have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of smuggling almost five tons of Jamaican marijuana into a remote area of Bucks County in 1984 with the help, unbeknownst to them, of undercover agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The seizure of the marijuana from a farm in Kintnersville was disclosed yesterday by U.S. Attorney Edward S.G. Dennis Jr. and Joel M. Friedman, head of the federal Strike Force on Organized Crime and Racketeering in Philadelphia. They also announced the July 2 indictments.

Federal officials said that four of the seven indicted suspects were arrested yesterday and appeared for a bail hearing in U.S. District Court.

They were identified as Anthony Joseph DePaul, 37, of Palace Court, Chalfont, and Michael John Canino, 36, of Canterbury Circle, Warminster, each charged with four counts of federal drug-law violations, and Paul Scimeca Jr., 29, of Warminister, and his wife, Diane Rose Scimeca, 26, of the same address, each charged with two counts.

U.S. Magistrate Tullio Gene Leomporra set bail at $200,000 for DePaul and Canino and at $50,000 each for the Scimecas, according to strike-force attorney Michael Seigel, who presented the case to a federal grand jury. Seigel said the grand jury had investigated the case for two years.

According to Seigel, two other suspects are expected to surrender today to U.S. marshals. He identified them as Lee Harold Burgher, 47, of the 900 block of Herbert Street, Philadelphia, and John Anthony Canino, of Parkdale Avenue, Glenside, Michael Canino's brother. Both were indicted on two drug counts.

Another suspect, Charles Joseph Runte, 36, is believed to be living in Jamaica, Seigel said.

The government charged that DePaul, Runte and Michael Canino hired the DEA agents, posing as smugglers, to carry the marijuana from Jamaica to Florida by boat and, from there, by truck, to New York. From New York, the shipment of 11,400 pounds went to a shopping center in Quakertown, Bucks County, where the DEA agents were replaced at the wheel of two trucks by real smugglers, according to the charges.

The agents were paid nearly $500,000 for expenses and were to receive $1.6 million more in fees, according to the indictments. John Anthony Canino and the Scimecas helped transfer the marijuana to a garage at the farm on Woodcock Lane, the indictments said.

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