(STL.News) – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Vontez Scales, 29, of Philadelphia, PA, was convicted at trial of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin, and possession with intent to distribute heroin and fentanyl, arising from his sales and purchases of large quantities of drugs to and from co-conspirators.
Scales was a member of a large drug trafficking group, known as the ”Skipworth” drug trafficking organization, that operated for months in 2018 and distributed millions of dollars worth of crystal methamphetamine, heroin, fentanyl and cocaine in Philadelphia, Bucks County, Berks County and Delaware County. Scales’ co-conspirators, Damir Skipworth, a/k/a “Meech” (who was the ring leader), Jarrett Cobb, a/k/a “Chi,” Tyrone Smith, a/k/a “Ho,” Rahim Amin, a/k/a “Skinny Rah,” John Richard Thornton, Scott Martin, and Natasha Powell all previously pleaded guilty to federal drug trafficking charges in this case and face significant prison terms.
Scales bought crystal methamphetamine in pound quantities from a co-conspirator, with the intention to sell it, and in turn sold large quantities of heroin laced with fentanyl back to the co-conspirator to distribute to other members of the group. Scales used the cash proceeds from his drug dealings largely for car rentals, hotels and luxury clothing, including purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue alone of over $28,000. Scales was previously convicted twice of drug trafficking, each of which resulted in lengthy prison terms.
“Scales and other members of this drug trafficking organization pumped huge quantities of poison into Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Drug trafficking is an inherently dangerous business and those engaged in it ultimately deliver destruction to our communities. Our Office is determined to protect the communities impacted by drug trafficking by investigating and convicting criminals like Scales and putting them behind bars.”
“Scales, who has two prior convictions for drug offenses, was found guilty of distributing substantial quantities of dangerous illegal street drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl,” said Jonathan A. Wilson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Philadelphia Field Division. “Even after serving lengthy prison terms for his prior convictions, Scales’ greed led to his continued drug trafficking activities and utter disregard for the law and the communities affected by him. Scales now faces a lengthy prison sentence for his drug trafficking.”
“Drugs don’t stop at county borders. This makes collaborative efforts like this one essential,” said Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub. “We in law enforcement are fortunate to have excellent federal, state, county and local partners in our fight to bring drug dealers to justice. This conviction was the culmination of teamwork at its finest.”
“The investigation, arrest, and successful prosecution of Vontez Scales provides another example of the value of consistent collaboration between law enforcement partner agencies,” said Acting Philadelphia Police Commissioner Christine Coulter. “We anticipate that the conviction and attendant sentencing of Vontez Scales will have an appreciable impact on the quality of life in the neighborhoods in which the recidivist offender operated.”
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bucks County Detectives Bureau and the Philadelphia Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher Parisi and Andrea Foulkes.