Phoenix Man Sentenced to Over 11 Years for Operating International Drug Smuggling Ring Using Women as Mules Through Philadelphia and the Caribbean
The defendant was arrested in Essington after one of his smugglers was stopped at PHL International
PHILADELPHIA (STL.News) Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Delgardo Frazer, 52, of Phoenix, AZ, was sentenced to eleven years and three months prison, and four years of supervised release by United States District Judge Chad F. Kenney for organizing and leading an international cocaine trafficking operation which was discovered and dismantled in 2018.
In April 2021, the defendant pleaded guilty to all counts in a Superseding Indictment charging him with intent to distribute fentanyl, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The charges stemmed from an incident during which Frazer was arrested near Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) in connection with drug smuggling.
For his illicit trafficking organization, the defendant recruited and paid several young women from Arizona to serve as “drug mules,” who would travel at his behest to various Caribbean locations and then deliver suitcases containing kilos of cocaine to him in Philadelphia, PA, and to his conspirators in Orlando, FL. As part of the trafficking conspiracy, Frazer also distributed fake oxycodone pills which, in fact, contained fentanyl.
The operation came to an end in July 2018, when one of the “drug mules,” after traveling a circuitous route through the Caribbean, was stopped by federal agents at PHL with two suitcases containing over 4 kilograms of cocaine. Frazer was waiting at a nearby hotel in Essington, PA, to pick her up at the airport. When he learned that she was stopped by law enforcement, he told her on a phone call to take a cab to the nearest cheap hotel, and at the same time he packed up and abandoned the hotel room five days ahead of schedule. The defendant was unaware that the woman was with federal agents who overheard that call.
The defendant drove out of the hotel parking lot quickly, and a Tinicum Township police officer on routine patrol observe him commit multiple traffic violations. The officer stopped Frazer and searched his vehicle at an on-ramp to Interstate-95, at which point approximately 485 fake oxycodone pills containing fentanyl were found in the gas cap, and a semi-automatic 9 mm Luger handgun loaded with 12 live rounds was found in the trunk. Frazer had a prior felony drug conviction in Arizona and was therefore not permitted to possess a firearm.
“Drug distribution and gun violence are an epidemic in Philadelphia, and the federal government is aggressively prosecuting both in order to be ‘All Hands On Deck’ to get dangerous criminals like this defendant off the streets,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “Delgado Frazer was a large-scale drug trafficker who exploited women to do the ‘heavy lifting’ of bringing illegal narcotics into our country through Philadelphia and other airports, which puts those communities in grave danger. We want to thank our law enforcement partners in this case, HSI and DEA, for their hard work and dedication.”
“Frazer admitted to organizing an international drug trafficking ring, putting deadly drugs in the hands of those struggling with addictions. HSI is committed to working with its law enforcement partners to ensure that those seeking to make a profit off the vulnerable are arrested to face the consequences of their criminal acts,” said HSI Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge, Brian Michael.
The case was investigated by the Homeland Security Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Andrea G. Foulkes.