NORRISTOWN >> An Upper Dublin woman admitted to participating in a multi-state methamphetamine and marijuana trafficking ring and was sent straight to prison.
Nicole McNulty, 29, of the 600 block of Ardross Avenue, was sentenced in Montgomery County Court to one to three years in the State Correctional Institution at Muncy after she pleaded guilty to charges of corrupt organizations and possession with intent to deliver crystal meth. The sentence was imposed by Judge William R. Carpenter, who accepted a plea agreement in the matter.
“Nicole McNulty admitted to being a member of this corrupt organization that was distributing methamphetamine and other narcotics in the Montgomery and Bucks county areas in southeastern Pennsylvania. Specifically, she admitted to a couple of deliveries and to also possessing some methamphetamine with the intent to deliver it, though it had not yet been delivered,” said Assistant District Attorney Robert Kolansky, explaining the nature of McNulty’s admission.
On Nov. 22, 2017, at the conclusion of the investigation, when searches were being conducted, investigators located a vehicle linked to McNulty and another alleged co-defendant and within the vehicle they found a substantial amount of methamphetamine, prosecutors alleged in court papers.
McNulty is one of about a dozen people who were arrested earlier this year for playing roles in the corrupt organization that authorities alleged used the U.S. Postal Service to carry out the drug crimes. She is one of the first to plead guilty.
“I would not characterize her as at the top of the organization but she was an active participant,” Kolansky said.
After she was arrested in Bucks County on drug charges in September 2017, McNulty told detectives that she sold methamphetamine to support her drug habit, according to a criminal complaint.
“McNulty stated she handles selling the crystal methamphetamine. McNulty stated she has been selling or middle manning drugs for less than a year’s time. McNulty said people call her every day for drugs,” detectives wrote in the arrest affidavit.
McNulty is eligible for the state Department of Corrections’ Recidivism Risk Reduction Incentive program. The program, commonly referred to as “Triple R-I,” allows eligible non-violent offenders to receive reductions of their minimum prison sentences if they successfully complete all required treatment and maintain good-conduct records in prison.
McNulty could be released from prison after serving nine months of her minimum sentence if she successfully completes the RRRI program, according to sentencing documents.
McNulty’s friend, Lorraine Yvonne Zeno, 36, also of the 600 block of Ardross Avenue, and Brian Justin Holt, 42, of the 600 block of North Redwood Court, Montgomery Township, are accused of being the leaders of the organization. Zeno and Holt are awaiting trial on drug-related offenses in connection with alleged incidents that occurred between April 2016 and November 2017.
Zeno and Holt, authorities alleged, were part of “The Big Five” allegedly involved in the trafficking ring. Three others from California, Leonardo Christian Fernandez, 34, Joel Travis Hills-Garcia, 29, and Patrick M. Fry, 43, also were charged in connection with the drug ring, according to court documents, and are awaiting trial.
At the time of the arrests in January, District Attorney Kevin R. Steele alleged members of the drug trafficking organization mailed packages of crystal methamphetamine and marijuana, using the U.S. Postal Service, from California to Zeno and Holt in Montgomery County since at least April 2016.
During the joint investigation that involved law enforcement from Pennsylvania, California and New Jersey, authorities identified more than 350 pounds of crystal methamphetamine and marijuana that was sent in multiple shipments, according to court documents. Investigators shut down the organization operating in Pennsylvania and worked their way back to the alleged suppliers in California, according to Steele.
The investigation began in 2016 when the U.S. Postal Inspection Service identified and intercepted a suspicious parcel being shipped from California to Montgomery County, according to court documents. Investigators alleged the parcel contained about one pound of crystal meth.
Investigators subsequently uncovered cross-country shipments of alleged bulk quantities of methamphetamine and marijuana to members of the Zeno and Holt drug trafficking organization. Authorities alleged the shipments received were then sold to other drug dealers and individuals in Montgomery and Bucks counties and Philadelphia.
The corrupt organization allegedly headed by Zeno and Holt then sent the illegal proceeds for the drugs to those allegedly involved in California, according to the criminal complaint.
The investigation involved the use of court-authorized wiretaps on the phones of Zeno, Holt and Fernandez, which helped identify the alleged California suppliers.
Investigators also learned the identities of Zeno and Holt’s methamphetamine customers, some of whom also distributed the drug and assisted Zeno and Holt with receiving the drugs at locations referred to as “work sites,” according to the arrest affidavit.