Grocery A Front, Jury Rules

Posted: June 29, 1990

Wiretaps on a North Philadelphia grocer's phone led yesterday to the convictions of two brothers from New York on heroin-trafficking charges.

Following an eight-day trial and about four hours of deliberations, a federal jury in Philadelphia convicted Antonio Collado, 34, of Queens, and his brother, Policai Collado, 30, of Brooklyn, of conspiracy and other related charges.

Three other defendants were found guilty of all charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank R. Costello Jr., the case prosecutor, said evidence from the wiretaps showed that two defendants, Miriam Sanchez, 26, of 2nd Street near Cumberland, Philadelphia, and Victoria Frias, 27, of the Bronx, worked as couriers for the heroin ring, carrying money to New York and heroin back to Philadelphia.

The high-purity Southeast Asian heroin supplied by the Collado brothers for more than $100,000 a pound was diluted and packaged in Philadelphia and sold in wholesale lots of $20 bags to drug retailers who visited the grocery - Harry's Food Market on Huntingdon Street near Lawrence - between April and November of 1988, the prosecutor said.

Several other area grocery stores operated by ring members, all immigrants

from the Dominican Republic, also were used as fronts for heroin outlets, the prosecutor said.

The fifth defendant, Jose Villanueva, 34, of Camden, was a customer of the ring, Costello said. Villanueva is from Puerto Rico.

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