Three Philadelphia men were charged for allegedly operating a firearm and narcotics trafficking ring in South Philly, the District Attorney’s Office announced on Feb. 14.
The announcement follows a state-led 15-month investigation in which guns, some of which were ghost guns, were bought and sold in multiple South Philly neighborhoods.
Adam To, 28, Steven Mao, 26, and Michael Phung Du, 30, are currently being held at Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility on $1 million, $850,000 and $300,000 bail, respectively, at the request of prosecutors and will have a preliminary hearing later this month.
To is being held on six counts of possession of firearm prohibited, possession with intent to distribute, possession of an instrument of crime and related charges.
Mao was charged with intent to distribute, conspiracy, possession of an instrument of crime and multiple related charges including illegal firearm offenses.
Phung Du was charged with possession with intent to distribute, conspiracy and related charges. The District Attorney’s Office said To was the main target of the investigation.
“I’m grateful for the hard work and dedication of the OAG and Drug Enforcement Administration investigators who put together strong, evidence-rich cases that will enable our Gun Violence Task Force to vigorously prosecute,” said District Attorney Larry Krasner. “These arrests should send a message to those who think it’s OK to trade in deadly weapons and narcotics in our communities: This activity will not be tolerated and you will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
According to the DA’s Office, To, who was believed by investigators to be the ringleader, and Mao stopped at Phung Du’s residence to obtain a quarter-pound of cocaine on Feb. 8.
To and Mao were stopped and arrested by police and then agents with the PA Office of the Attorney General executed previously approved search warrants at To and Phung Du’s homes.
Investigators seized illegal firearms in To’s Southwest Philly home including a 9MM Polymer handgun that is known as an illegal ghost gun. Investigators also confiscated one long gun and several other handguns. They seized a significant quantity of cocaine and marijuana at Phung Du’s residence located in the city’s Poplar section along with sizable amounts of cash.
A third search warrant for To’s Ford F-150 truck turned up an additional illegal firearm. It is unclear to law enforcement when the trafficking operation began. Investigators have determined that the defendants delivered firearms and narcotics across state lines. Assistant District Attorney Martin Glynn said many of the sales originated in two South Philly neighborhoods.
“Throughout the course of the investigation, many of the buys were done in the general South Philly area, the area of 800 Wharton as well as 2400 S. Broad St.,” Glynn said.
The DA’s Office said the three men have no apparent gang affiliations, however more affiliates are still sought after an ongoing investigation.
“I want to thank the agents with the PA OAG, particularly Richard Gramlich, who conducted such an excellent investigation,” said Glynn, who will be prosecuting the case. “I also thank the DEA for their assistance. We will prosecute this case thoroughly and hold these defendants accountable for the harm they’ve caused our communities.”