Man to stand trial over weapons, drugs

Posted: December 29, 2004

Undercover Police Officer Anthony Burton dressed in a UPS uniform and drove a brown truck to the 6500 block of Torresdale Avenue with a very special package: a box containing nearly a half-kilo of crystal methamphetamine that law enforcement had intercepted during shipment from Phoenix.

The box was addressed to John Spence, Burton testified yesterday. But when he arrived on July 15, 43-year-old James Hogeland took the delivery.

"He said, 'I'm John Spence.' I said, 'OK, because only John Spence can sign for this package,' " Burton testified.

Police raided Hogeland's Tacony home and discovered a homemade bomb and bomb components, 21 firearms, various knives and swords, nearly $4,800, scales and other drug paraphernalia.

At the end of yesterday's preliminary hearing, Municipal Court Judge Marsha H. Neifield ordered Hogeland to stand trial on charges of methamphetamine possession with intent to distribute, possession of weapons of mass destruction, and related offenses, said Assistant District Attorney Scott Sigman.

Hogeland is jailed with bail set at $5 million and is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 18.

Police Officer Anthony Parrotti testified that UPS records indicated that someone at the Torresdale Avenue address had been receiving two parcels each month from Phoenix, a total of seven shipments. But defense attorney Louis Savino Jr. suggested the true recipient of the drug shipments was a second-floor apartment resident named John Spencer.

Hogeland's case is the second prosecution under state antiterrorism laws enacted after 9/11.

In the first case, a Kensington man and his two sons were accused of amassing an arsenal to protect their marijuana-distribution business. A judge threw out the weapons charges, ruling that three vintage military practice grenades could not be activated. They were convicted last month on the drug offenses.

If convicted on the weapons of mass destruction charge, Hogeland faces a maximum of 20 years in prison in addition to the standard sentence. If convicted on the methamphetamine charges, Hogeland faces a mandatory minimum of 8 to 16 years.

Contact staff writer Jacqueline Soteropoulos at 215-854-4497 or jsoteropoulos@phillynews.com.

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