COKE, CASH & BIG COLLAR: Reputed Philly Kingpin Among Those Nabbed

By Kitty Caparella & David Gambacorta, Philadelphia Daily News

Mar. 31–AREPUTED DRUG kingpin who sells hip-hop clothing and music out of a South Street-area business has been arrested with seven others in four states in a major sting involving a 210-kilogram shipment of Mexican cocaine, $5 million in cash and 14 weapons.

The cocaine, headed for streets along the Eastern seaboard, was worth about $5 million wholesale and $40 million on the street, according to authorities.

The FBI, the DEA, the IRS, New York and Pennsylvania State Police, and Philadelphia police raided at least 15 locations in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland in the past two days in the ongoing federal drug investigation.

At roughly 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, armed agents in flak jackets hit the Teagle Co., on 3rd Street near South, owned by Omar Teagle, 33, a reputed Philadelphia drug kingpin, according to authorities.

Agents carried several boxes of documents and other materials from the company, which also houses Teagle and Turner Entertainment, Versatile Clothing and Versatile Music.

Teagle, a West Philadelphia native now living in Townsend, Del., is listed as president or an officer of each company, except for Versatile Music, according to corporate state records.

Teagle’s attorney, David S. Nenner, said no drugs or guns had been found at Teagle’s home or business.

Yesterday, Teagle and two other suspects, George Rodgers and Donnell Ball, appeared briefly for a federal hearing that was postponed until today while Assistant U.S. Attorney Curtis Douglas prepared their criminal complaints.

Teagle’s mother and wife showed up for the hearing as did friends, including Jay Erving, son of 76ers legend Julius Erving. The younger Erving is an associate of Teagle’s, according to sources close to the investigation.

“I have nothing to say,” said Jay Erving, in a blue sweat suit, while talking on a cell phone.

Rodgers was arrested at his home, on Colorado Street near Carpenter, where sources said agents had seized 500 grams of crack cocaine, five guns and furniture that allegedly had secret compartments for stashing large amounts of cocaine.

Ball, 35, a fugitive since 2002, was arrested at his residence on Broad Street near Ridge Avenue. He is wanted by Camden County after jumping bail on a cocaine case and by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole for alleged violations in 2002.

Meanwhile in New Jersey, Ramon Alburg, an alleged member of the ring, was arrested at his home in Franklin Park, N.J., near New Brunswick. The Somerset, N.J., home of his brother Raoul, who allegedly transported the cocaine shipment, was raided by agents who said they had seized 155 kilograms of cocaine and $500,000. Raoul Alburg was later arrested in Crofton, Md.

New York authorities are looking for the Alburgs’ brother, Roland, 36, of Holtsville, N.Y., who allegedly picked up 50 kilograms of cocaine in New Jersey and took it to New York.

New York State Police arrested Norman Cooke, 38, a Suffolk County corrections officer, after he allegedly delivered multiple kilos in the Troy, N.Y., area. Also arrested were Daniel Green, 39, of Babylon, N.Y., who teaches school and coaches girls basketball, and Billy Green, 43, of Wheatley Heights, N.Y.

New York authorities also seized six handguns and three semiautomatic rifles, three ounces of crack, a pound of marijuana, 10 vehicles and eight residences.

Federal hearings were scheduled for today in Philadelphia, Newark, N.J., and New York to charge the suspects formally with conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

According to an affidavit by FBI agent Brian C. Turner, Teagle was brokering shipments of cocaine and promised Ball some 75 kilograms from a shipment due after Christmas.

Ball told a confidential informant that he was unhappy with the way Teagle was “dictating” how much cocaine he would get, the affidavit stated.

In a meeting in New Jersey, Teagle asked Ramon Alburg for money, and Ramon told Teagle to go to his brother Raoul’s house and get “eight,” which meant $80,000, according to the affidavit.

Teagle told an informant that he wasn’t worried about the price of the cocaine, he just wanted to get additional kilograms to the East Coast and was concerned about taking it back from California, the affidavit said.

When one transportation plan failed, Teagle and others came up with another to haul the cocaine back from California, according to the affidavit.

On March 22, the affidavit said, Raoul Alburg and two others, including an informant, began driving last Sunday to Los Angeles in a vehicle with a trailer attached. Inside the trailer was a black couch containing cocaine and two other pieces of furniture with hidden compartments.

The affidavit said Teagle had monitored the trio via phone calls – intercepted by authorities – as they traveled across the country.

On Tuesday, the trailer was dropped off at Ramon’s home in Franklin Park, N.J., and Raoul Alburg called his brother to warn him that his Somerset, N.J., house was under surveillance, according to the affidavit.

Yesterday, Teagle’s South Street neighbors described him as a disc jockey, clothing manufacturer and father who took his son and daughter, both under 10, shopping for clothes.

An employee at a nearby Reebok store said Teagle was known for DJing at clubs and promoting music.

“He comes in here at the start of every season and shops for his kids,” said Raluca Anca, manager of Unica For Women & Kids, on South Street near 3rd.

Eddie Roman, manager of Dr. Denim, Inc., said last summer he purchased men’s clothing from Teagle’s company.

“His stuff sold well,” Roman said. “The last time we spoke was probably the end of last summer. I think [the company] stopped production then.”

Last night, the Teagle Co. headquarters was closed. Behind royal-blue double doors, on 3rd Street near South, was a lobby with a thick glass entrance that lists Versatile Clothing Co. on one door and Versatile Music on the other. Inside were tables and desks with scattered books and papers.


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