Scion of powerful Democratic family charged in drug probe

Posted: March 17, 2016

A son of Edgar "Sonny" Campbell Jr., a powerful city ward leader and close ally of Philadelphia Democratic Party Chairman Robert Brady, has been charged with selling cocaine and marijuana out of his West Philadelphia home, according to court and police records.

Edward Campbell, 38, was arrested Saturday, allegedly with 230 grams of cocaine, inside his house in the 5900 block of Vine Street, police records show. The cocaine had a street value of $23,000, the records say.

Also found in Campbell's home - down the street from a charitable foundation bearing his family's name - was a small amount of marijuana, a loaded .40-caliber pistol, and $2,430 in cash beneath a chair in a living room, police records show.

Campbell was the subject of a narcotics investigation that lasted about three months, Officer Tanya Little, a police spokeswoman, confirmed Tuesday night.

Campbell faces three counts of drug-related charges. He remained in custody Tuesday after not posting bail, according to court records.

Efforts to reach his father for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Brady, when asked to comment on Edward Campbell's arrest, declined to comment.

"I can't talk about that," Brady said. "It's a court case."

Edward Campbell did not have a lawyer listed on his court records.

Campbell's family has been a powerful political force in Philadelphia for decades.

Sonny Campbell, Edward's father, is head of the influential United Ward Leaders of Color. The late Carol Ann Campbell, Edward's aunt, was a city councilwoman, ward leader, and secretary of the Democratic City Committee.

Their father, the late Edgar Campbell Sr., was a towering figure in Philadelphia politics. A city councilman and the first African American leader of the city's Democratic Committee, Edward Campbell's grandfather was known as "the Dean" of the city's black political leaders.

Brady, who represents parts of the city in the House, has maintained a years-long friendship with the family.

In 2011, when Sonny Campbell learned that Edward Campbell had been hit by a stray bullet, Brady rushed to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to offer support. He even got there before Sonny Campbell.

Brady "talked with the hospital administrators to make sure my son got everything he needed," Sonny Campbell said at the time. "That's the kind of friend he is."

Brady once fought to have a post office on 63rd Street renamed the Edgar C. Campbell Sr. Post Office Building, according to congressional records. In 2007, he allocated $390,000 in federal funding for the Edgar Campbell Foundation in West Philadelphia. The foundation, named after Edgar Campbell Sr., provides "counseling, job placement, and work readiness programs," congressional records show.

The foundation's headquarters, at 5946 Vine St., is a few doors away from where Edward Campbell was arrested.

cpalmer@phillynews.com215-854-2817@cs_palmer

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