Drug gang's leader gets life

Alexander "Reds" Rivera operated a large trafficking organization in a Kensington neighborhood.

Posted: April 04, 2012

A North Philadelphia drug kingpin got a life sentence Tuesday in federal court for running a large-scale trafficking organization that involved his wife and mother-in-law.

Alexander "Reds" Rivera's gang operated in a troubled Kensington neighborhood between February 2006 and September 2010.

The gang controlled drug distribution in and around the intersection of Indiana Avenue and Lawrence Street as well as in other areas of Philadelphia.

Rivera, 30, obtained cocaine, crack, heroin and PCP that he and his codefendants then peddled on the street. The indictment charged 17 defendants, all of whom pleaded guilty, except for Rivera and his wife.

Authorities said Rivera and his cohorts engaged in violence to protect and maintain their drug territory and that Rivera and a codefendant had hired a hit man to shoot a rival drug dealer on Christmas Eve in 2009.

Rivera was convicted of conspiracy and related drug and firearms offenses after a five-day trial in December 2011.

Rivera's wife, Ileana Vidal, 26, was also convicted of conspiracy during the same trial. She is to be sentenced Wednesday, although her lawyer has asked for a continuance.

Contact Michael Hinkelman at 215-854-2656 or hinkelm@phillynews.com.

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