Friday, February 7, 2020

D.A. Frees Stoned Pharmacist Caught With $30,000 Worth Of Xanax

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

At 4:04 a.m. on Aug. 30, 2017, a patrol officer responded to a call for an auto accident at the corner of Front and Dudley Streets in South Philadelphia. The officer found a tipsy driver behind the wheel of a 2008 silver Nissan that had just crashed into two parked vehicles, but the Nissan was still running, and in drive.

As the cop approached the vehicle, she smelled burnt marijuana. She also observed the driver, Anthony M. Chong, 23, of Galloway Township, N.J. stuffing numerous plastic bags filled with white, bar-shaped pills into a back pack. When the cop asked Chong to get out of the car, he responded, "Hold on, I'm eating my chips."

Chong, who refused to take a breathalyzer test, according to police, had slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet. He told the officer he was a pharmacy student at Temple University who was currently working for CVS, both in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Apparently, Chong was taking his work home with him. When police conducted a search of the car, they recovered a total of 1,494 Xanax pills, 2 mg. each, with a street value of $29,880. When the officer asked if Chong had stolen the drugs from his employer, according to a police report, he responded with a blank stare and a smirk, and then a a slurred "No."


Police arrested Chong under suspicion of a possible DUI and subsequently filed a trio of drug charges against him.

It looked like a slam-dunk case. But since this is Philadelphia, under Progressive Larry Krasner, that's not how it worked out.

After several continuances, and more than a year's worth of court appearances, the D.A.'s office wound up not only dropping all the charges against Chong, but they also gave him back his bail money and expunged the alleged crimes from his criminal record.

It was another case of justice in Philadelphia, Krasner style, where the D.A. functions not as the city's top law enforcement officer, and protector of law-abiding citizens, but as an accused criminal's best friend.

The night he was arrested, Chong was transported to Methodist Hospital. He got out of jail after he posted bail of $5,000. His case took a while to go to court. And when it finally did, it took even longer for Chong and his lawyer to work their way through the system.

But as far as Chong and his lawyer were concerned, the results couldn't have worked out better. In fact, both of them might be willing to do campaign commercials on behalf of their "Uncle Larry" when he runs for reelection.

According to records, Chong's case was brought up during eight separate court appearances between August 23, 2018 and Dec. 16, 2019. Chong was charged with manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver; intentional possession of a controlled substance; and use/possession of drug paraphernalia.

As the case chugged through the courts, the D.A.'s office and Judge Robert Coleman granted Chong and his lawyer one request after another. Such as, on Jan. 28, 2019, when the defense was granted a continuance for further investigation.

On May 1, 2019, the defendant wasn't available to appear in court so the judge granted Chong another continuance for further investigation.

On July 15, 2019, defendant was unavailable again to appear in court. No problem as far as the D.A. was concerned.

Finally, on Sept. 30, 2019, after several continuances, according to court records, the D.A. asked Judge Coleman to drop the charges due to "prosecutorial discretion."

But the D.A.'s office wasn't through doing favors for Chong and his lawyer.

On Oct. 23, 2019, the judge approved a motion to expunge the charges against Chong. On Nov. 4, 2019, the Commonwealth refunded Chong's bail. On Dec. 16, 2019, it cost Chong $147 in fees to get his record expunged.

Both Chong and his Philadelphia lawyer, Guy Sciolla, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Sciolla like many other smart local defense lawyers, was a contributor to Krasner's successful campaign for D.A. Records show that Sciolla donated $2,500 on March 8, 2017 to Krasner's campaign, and another $250 on Oct. 10, 2017.

As one prominent defense lawyer told me right after Krasner was elected, "We can do business with Larry Krasner."

They sure can. In previous stories, we've documented:

 -- How, because of a $25 traffic ticket, the D.A. let a convicted two-time killer out of jail.

-- How the D.A. rigged a slam-dunk case of murder in Rittenhouse Square by twice dropping murder charges against the accused killer, Michael White. As well as behind closed doors, the D.A. and his top assistant, Anthony Voci, head of homicide, were counseling White, rehearsing him, and coaching him up during a private, cozy two-hour interview with the accused killer, and his dedicated team of public defenders.

-- How the D.A. dropped 27 burglary cases and a total of 184 charges against a career burglar, in addition to scrubbing his record clean.

-- And how the D.A. gave a pass to the son of one of his own top supervisors, Movita Johnson-Harrell, herself a criminal, who was in charge of victim services in the D.A.'s office. This happened after Movita's son went out to the job site of the mother of his son, lured her out in the streets, pushed her, shoved her, and then punched her in the mouth. The D.A. dropped an assault charge against Movita's son, without ever notifying the victim, which is against the law.

And so it goes with this D.A. and his accomplices. They include the newspaper of record in this town, The Philadelphia Inquirer, that has willfully ignored all of these stories about how the D.A.'s office really functions, laid out in court records; they've also killed other stories, in a concerted campaign to protect a fellow progressive.

Once upon a time in Philadelphia, the District Attorney's office functioned as the representative for crime victims and law-abiding citizens. When the D.A. dealt with defense lawyers and the public defender's office, it was as an adversary. That's how the criminal justice system was supposed to work.

Now, in Philadelphia, thanks to George Soros and a gullible electorate, the D.A., the defense lawyers and the public defender's office all work together as a team to represent the best interests of accused criminals.

Not the citizens, or crime victims.

The D.A. accomplishes his mission to empty the jails by routinely lowering charges, arranging plea bargains, dropping charges, and, when they do go to court, sending rookie, incompetent prosecutors out to lose slam-dunk cases like the Rittenhouse Square murder. And then, in a final act of generosity, the team led by our D.A. works together to scrub criminal records so the formerly accused can walk out of jail with a clean record.

And what do the officials down at D.A. Larry Krasner's office who continue to betray their oath of office, have to say to explain to the citizens of Philadelphia why yet another accused criminal, Mr. Chong, who was caught red-handed with nearly $30,000 of a controlled substance, is now back on the streets and cruising around with a clean record?

As usual, the stonewallers at Krasner's office -- specifically Krasner, and his two alleged spokespersons, Jane Roh and Cameron Kline -- did not respond to a request for comment.

At the Fraternal Order of Police, however, they hear stories like what happened to Chong every day.

"Our police officers are out there on a daily basis doing the job," said FOP Vice President Vice-President John McGrody. "This guy's a drug dealer with that kind of stuff. But the D.A. office is absolutely disregarding public safety and they're disregarding the hard work of our police officers."

"The message from the D.A.'s office," McGrody said, "Is that nobody get arrested unless you've got a blue shirt and badge."

A corporate spokesperson for CVS's national headquarters in Woonsocket, R.I. did not respond to an email requesting comment about whether Chong is still employed by the pharmacy in both Philadelphia and New Jersey. Where he would have access to more drugs.

And why shouldn't he? He's got a clean record.


15 comments:

  1. It seems as though nothing matters anymore, not the truth, not justice, not honesty or integrity. Maybe people have reached their threshold for outrage. We jail innocents and turn our backs on them but the people that need punishment somehow evade prosecution.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It seems like a lot of unanswered questions. The article initially gives the impression that defendant Chong stole the Xanax pills from his employer, CVS. Yet the DA charged him with drug manufacture, not theft. So did he steal Xanax from CVS or manufacture it?

    I suspect there is a solid reason why the DA dropped the case. For example, the defendant may have made a deal to testify against his accomplices or other drug dealers. Another possibility is that there was a chain of custody problem with the Xanax, such as maybe some of it was "misplaced" by the cops. If the defendant manufactured it himself, maybe he got the recipe wrong, and it really wasn't an illegal drug. The DA would want to keep anything like the above confidential.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Chong was charged with manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver". Your argument is almost completely based on your misunderstanding and misreading of the charges. Additionally, a prosecutor would not need to exercise their discretion to ask for a dismissal if the Xanax wasn't real - cannot proceed on such charges if the seizure analysis showed it was fake. The conjecture regarding potential cooperation as a witness is ludicrous.

      Delete
  3. Well Tim, you've got a lot more faith in the Philly DA than I have. If there was a good reason for dropping the case, as you suggest, a chain of custody problem or whatever, then why didn't the defendant, the defendant's lawyer or the D.A. or his spokesperson happily divulge that to me?

    Instead, they're all running for cover. Does that raise your suspicions?

    If you read my previous posts on Krasner, I submit a left-wing ideologue who would let a two-time killer out of jail because of a $25 traffic ticket, a D.A. who dropped 27 burglary cases and 184 charges against a career burglar, a D.A. who manipulated the Rittenhouse Square murder case so the accused killer went free wouldn't think twice about letting an accused drug dealer caught with $30,000 worth of Xanax go free.

    Do you catch my drift? How about a D.A. who gave a pass to the son of Movita Johnson-Harrell while she was working as a supervisor in the D.A.'s office, even though the son beat up the mother of his child?

    You're operating in the theoretical and suggesting this D.A. deserves the benefit of the doubt. My reporting so far says he doesn't.

    Ralph

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If Chong became an informant, both the DA and defense attorney would want to keep that secret for his safety.

      If it was a chain of custody problem or he manufactured the wrong drug, the DA would want to keep those embarrassing details secret as well and could have made a deal with the defense to keep it confidential.

      If the DA was going to let Chong skate as a favor to his defense attorney, who donated to the DA's campaign, why drag out the case so long and waste all that court time?

      It just seems different from the other examples where a seemingly guilty defendant was let go. In drug cases, the police typically want the defendant to inform on other drug dealers in exchange for dropping charges.

      I thought the arrest details sound like a scene from a Cheech and Chong movie. Chong was apparently stoned on pot and had the munchies when stopped by police. I wonder if he is related to the actor and cannabis rights activist, Tommy Chong.

      Delete
    2. Tim, you may be overthinking this one. If Chong's an informant, either his lawyer or somebody down at the DA's office could have told me that, and made an argument to kill the story, or at least conceal the guy's identity out of concern for his life.

      Your theory also to me seems based on a false supposition. That Krasner is a crime fighter. He had decriminalized drug use and drug possession. As a commentator in the know stated on this blog, Mayor Jim Kenney a while back convened a meeting of all department heads, the DA's office, and commanders in the P.D.

      Kenney wanted to create a joint task force to attack the opioid crisis going in Kensington, where hundreds of people were dying. During the meeting, Krasner stood up and told the mayor, the cops and everybody else off. The drug problem in this country, he said, was created by the feds, and it's up to them to clean it up.

      As for Krasner and his DA office, he told everybody in the room that he wouldn't lift a finger to help combat the opioid war raging in Kensington. He disrespected the mayor, the police, etc., and disregarded hundreds of people dying, all in the name of ideology.

      And this is the guy that you think is going to flip a drug dealer to get to his supplier? We're not dealing with a regular DA here, we are dealing with a Black Lives Matter Antifa George-Soros financed left wing ideologue who has devoted his life's energies to getting criminals out of jail.

      Krasner and the US Attorney loathe each other. You actually think they're going to work together on this one? Talk about comedy.

      When I talked to cops and prosecutors about what they think happened in this case, they say the DA just kept continuing the case until everybody forgot about it.

      The records have been wiped out; it's the perfect crime.

      Not buying what you're peddling.

      Ralph

      Delete
    3. The biggest unanswered question in your argument is why, after all I've written about Krasner, that you still think he's a crime fighter. What on earth are you basing that on? Please edify.

      Delete
    4. I was just discussing the evidence the article presented on the Chong case. No direct evidence was presented that the charges against Chong were dropped because Chong's defense lawyer donated $2,750 to Krasner's campaign.

      I agree the Chong case is fishy but lack of details does not prove corruption.

      I don't understand your claim that Chong's lawyer would have told you if alleged drug dealer Chong was an informant for the police. That would be unethical because it would violate his client's rights. Lawyers can't go around gossiping about their clients.

      You say "Krasner's stonewalling speaks volumes." Isn't it true that police and prosecutors are not supposed to talk about cases if the DA drops charges and expunges the records?

      Delete
    5. Tim, I'm glad you think the Chong case is fishy. I definitely think you're on to something there!

      I never said the campaign contributions from Chong's lawyer was a quid pro quo; but I don't think it hurt his cause either.

      I didn't say that Chong's lawyer would have told me if his dirtbag client was now an undercover informant. I said he could have mentioned it. So could the DA. And I agree, I can't imagine any Philadelphia lawyer violating their ethical obligations by dong anything as scandalous as gossiping about their clients! Heavens, not here in our Progressive Democratic paradise!

      As far as Krasner's stonewalling goes, I was speaking cumulatively. For the past seven months now, I have been reporting on weird stuff going on in the DA's office in about a dozen stories, and no matter what the topic, or whether they could or couldn't talk, the D.A. has been stiffing me every time. That kind of stonewalling does speak volumes. Especially for an alleged reformer like Krasner who went into office pledging to be open and transparent.

      One final point. In all of your emails, you seem to assume that we're dealing with a regular DA here, and that the regular rules still apply. As I've tried to explain in all of my stories, as well as my responses to your questions, that with Larry Krasner and George Soros, we are now in the Twilight Zone. But you're still writing under the assumption that my dispatches are emanating from Mayberry RFD.

      Anyhow, thanks for reading.

      Ralph

      Delete
  4. And his stonewalling speaks volumes.

    ReplyDelete
  5. There is a percolating case from Warminster, PA in which a carload of minority people in their teens pulled a fake terroristic prank of a Shooter in the Walmart.

    The car was driven by a teenage girl. It is a light blue Rogue and the Pennsylvania license plate was crystal clear. Incident happened last Saturday at Walmart. Good picture taken of the car and it's license plate as it departed with the peeps. Silence from Warminster PD as of now we know police will quickly converge on the peeps house in less than a hour.

    Bottom line. The peeps hail from Philadelphia Warminster PD apparently forwarded this to Philadelphia PD and our friend DA KRASNER.

    3Will Krasner let them skate as this may well morph into a Federal case due to terroristic standards?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I found out that Warminster PD said the license plate on the light blue Nissan Rogue was useless as the Rogue was a stolen car. They declined to state where the stolen car came from as the owner of the stolen car had nothing to do with what happened at Walmart.

      Delete
  6. The wave of reform district attorneys being swept in office across the country was in a direct response to the lock them up throw away the key types, even if defendants were not guilty. The sort that invent crimes to advance their own careers, or the prosecutors who lie just because they can and who use the media to condemn defendants denying them a fair trial.

    But, this is unacceptable behavior on the part of Krasners office, the fact that it is common knowledge that defense attorneys "can do business " with Krasner is very worrisome. Not communicating is detrimental to those who supported him. I want to know more about this case, I would like an answer as a voter, did this man walk away unscathed?

    Those of us who have witnessed prosecutors lie and are horrified and appalled at the total lack of accountability on the part prosecutors welcomed change. I will not vote for a hardliner, we need change, we are failing at criminal justice in our country.

    I expected backlash against Krasner, but his office must be more forthcoming with details. We were hoping for justice for all, victims, the innocent and the guilty.



    ReplyDelete
  7. What I really hoped for in a DA was for a public servant that used their office for the good for all. Krasner being a former defense attorney, I had hoped would call out prosecutors who manipulated the system, prosecutors found to be lying and using extortion tactics to coerce a confess and invent crimes,being in-tuned to prosecutors who have a total lack of respect for the truth and justice, I had hope for more from Krasner.

    I wanted to see defense attorneys accuses prosecutors of lying, why is the best we can expect to hear from attorneys is the government got the facts wrong or my client is innocent of all charges, I want to hear this prosecutor is a known liar, he/she had lied on other cases and should not be able to condemn anyone of a crime, this prosecutors lies are so offensive that they should not hold a law license. I wanted an upheaval.

    I am tired of a the status quo, we need prosecutors to tell the truth and to be punished if they lie. I hoped Krasner would have been able to assist with this monumental task.We have plenty of data on prosecutors who lie, we need to be able to use those facts to render them useless. Weed out the liars.

    We feel confident enough to say another member of law enforcement lied,such as a police officer or a detective, why is is forbidden to say a prosecutor lied? It should be common place for the media to say that a prosecutor has lied before and should be removed from office. Instead of it always being the defendant who is guilty. A citizens voice should be just as important as a prosecutors.

    ReplyDelete

Thoughtful commentary welcome. Trolling, harassing, and defaming not welcome. Consistent with 47 U.S.C. 230, we have the right to delete without warning any comments we believe are obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.

 

Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog Copyright © 2016 BigTrial.net

Privacy Policy: BigTrial.net does not distribute, share or sell email addresses, or any other personal information received from this website.