HUNTINGDON - Four brothers police said were the Huntingdon County arm of a $14 million heroin ring spanning several counties are headed to state prison after taking plea deals, according to Huntingdon County District Attorney George Zanic.
William A. Spell, 27; Kenneth R. Spell, 24; and Thomas L. Spell Jr., 30, all of Huntingdon, accepted pleas and were sentenced last week in Huntingdon County for their various roles in the distribution ring, one where heroin was trafficked from Philadelphia to Allentown where it was imported to other areas of the state, including Huntingdon County. A fourth brother, Philip W. Spell, 28, also of Huntingdon, was sentenced in May after taking a plea.
William Spell will spend between 18 and 36 years behind bars while Kenneth Spell was sentenced to 14 to 28 years. Thomas Spell Jr. received an 11- to 22-year sentence and Philip Spell is serving a 7- to 15-year- drug sentence, Zanic said.
"The sentences imposed today are historic for Huntingdon County," Zanic said Friday. The investigation, one that involved a myriad of local law enforcement departments and agencies who worked with the state Attorney General's Office in what was dubbed "Operation Spellbound," revealed an organized distribution network that sold thousands of bags of heroin a week over a three-year period.
In March, 29 people, including the Spell Brothers, were charged with numerous drug offenses as well as being part of a corrupt organization, a charge Zanic said was key to their long sentences.
Zanic praised the work of law enforcement and Deputy Attorney General Dave Gorman, who prosecuted the case, and noted that as of this month 15 of the 29 charged in the ring have taken plea deals. The fact the suspects are taking plea deals that still carry stiff sentences is a testament to the solid evidence against them and the efforts of law enforcement, Zanic noted.
"We still have a long way to go with the remaining cases and it is my hope that all of these cases will be resolved by the end of summer," Zanic said.