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March 06, 2010By Manuel Gamiz Jr.

At the Riverbend Apartments off Union Street, officers in armo hermes r and fatigues and armed with high powered rifles stormed an apartment at 226 Levan St., bashing in the door and taking five men out in handcuffs, according to witnesses. Raids also occurred at 729 North St. and 202 S.

One Riverbend tenant, 63 year old Mary Ann Wintle, said she moved in just two months ago. The raid on Levan Street left her rattled and having second thoughts about living there.

”It’s kind of unnerving to wake up and see police activity going on next door,” Wintle said. ”I live here, I should know what’s going on here.”

Joseph Stauffer, chief detective of the Lehigh County Drug Task Force, said the raids went off without a hitch, but the investigation is ongoing and there might be more arrests.

”It certainly is one of the largest heroin busts in the Lehigh Valley,” Stauffer said. ”It’s a very significant operation.”

Stauffer called the Levan Street apartment, across from the Riverbend complex’s tennis courts, the distribution point of the heroin operation. He declined to identify the apartment’s tenants.

Investigators found about 25,000 bags of heroin inside, each with a street value of about $10, and about 155 grams of loose heroin that could be packaged to fill 5,000 more bags. Stauffer said the drugs are worth $250,000 to $300,000, but could have been cut to be sold for more money. Three vehicles were seized from the apartment complex.

Of the nine suspects charged, one is free on unsecured bail and eight are in Lehigh County Prison under $2 million or $1 million bail. Most are hermes charged with possession of heroin and marijuana, possession with the intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia and corrupt organizations.

The affidavit of probable cause for the search warrants, which would provide more information on why the nine were being charged, was sealed by a Lehigh County judge. 20th St., Allentown; and Eric Rosario, 32, of 399 Turner St hermes ., Allentown.

Sean Dedmon, 27, with no current address; Roberto Diaz, 48, and Jacquelyn Kueha, 19, both of 729 North St., were arrested on North Street, court documents say. Neighbors who did not want to be identified said officers swarmed the home and pulled several people out.

According to the documents, Hector Robles Jr., 27, of 202 S. 16th St. was arrested at his home. It sits in a quiet, residential section of west Allentown, and residents, who also did not want to give their names,

said they did not recall seeing any police activity in the past few days.

Matamoros and Hernandez were sent to prison under $2 million bail each; Downey, Ricardo Diaz, Rosario, Roberto Diaz, Dedmon and Robles are in prison under $1 million bail each; and Kueha is free under $250,000 unsecured bail.