DA: Police seeking Coatesville drug-dealer

Suspected drug activity led to a search warrant, which uncovered a cache of illegal drugs and weapons accessible only after breaking down a Brinks-style door in a heavily fortified residence, Chester County authorities said.

Ronald T. Smith Jr.

Ronald T. Smith Jr.

Now police are searching for the owner of the Coatesville property, 41-year-old Ronald T. Smith Jr., said a press release from Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan.

“The police found the unholy trinity of guns, drugs, and money in the defendant’s house,” Hogan said in the release. “This defendant was poisoning the Coatesville community and was a threat to law enforcement. The streets in Coatesville will be a little safer when we get him into custody.”

Coatesville Police Chief Jack Laufer applauded the collaboration that led to the execution of the search warrant. He said Borough of Parkesburg Police Department, the Chester County Sheriff's K-9 Unit, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, and the Coatesville Police Department’s Vice Unit removed a sizable quantity of dangerous drugs and firearms from the house.

“The fight against violent crime most often associated with the illicit drug trade requires a team approach not only within law enforcement, but also with the community we serve,” Laufer said in the release. “Together we can bring about positive change within the City of Coatesville.”

During the execution of the search warrant on Nov. 11, police found the front door reinforced with a steel security bar and surveillance equipment consistent with drug dealing, including a monitor in the master bedroom that showed live video feed from seven cameras, the criminal complaint said.

Inside the residence, police found large quantities of powdered and crack cocaine, heroin, crystal methamphetamine, prescription pills, and marijuana. The home included digital scales to weigh drugs, plastic baggies for packaging, and a cutting agent to increase the weight of the drugs. There also was a safe for storing drugs and cash present in the house, the complaint said.

Police also located and seized numerous firearms, including a long rifle with a scope, a revolver with an obliterated serial number, a .357 magnum revolver with an extended barrel, a Tec-9 semiautomatic firearm, and a Colt .380 caliber semiautomatic firearm with high capacity magazines.

Smith faces charges that include possession with intent to distribute drugs, possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, and related offenses. Smith was sentenced in 2001 to 23 to 59 months in prison for possession with the intent to deliver, court records said.

“The defendant was running a full-service pharmacy for illegal drugs,” said Hogan in the release. “He chose to protect his illicit activity in a fortified bunker and with prohibited firearms. However, persistent efforts and good teamwork by Chester County law enforcement shut down the defendant’s drug operation.”

Hogan said he hoped Smith, who is believed to be in the area, would have the good sense to surrender to authorities. Anyone with further information should contact Coatesville Detective Jonathan Shave at 610-384-2300. Information can also be provided anonymously on a recorded tip line at 610-380-1830 or by texting the keyword of Coatesville and your message to 847411.

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