Woman charged in Kensington fentanyl bust

Kensington fentanyl
District Attorney Larry Krasner views evidence photographs projected onto a screen during a news conference Thursday, May 16.

Prosecutors have charged a woman they describe as a “mid-level” drug dealer after a raid in Kensington recovered more than 1,000 fentanyl bags and two handguns.

Following a months-long investigation, authorities on Tuesday, May 14, arrested 21-year-old Jada Williams, and she has been charged with selling narcotics, committing firearm violations, conspiracy and related crimes.

“It’s not Pablo Escobar, but it’s also not the 16-year-old on the corner, who’s using and selling a few bags at a time,” District Attorney Larry Krasner told reporters Thursday at a news conference announcing the bust.

Williams is being represented by a public defender, and the Defender Association of Philadelphia declined to comment on the case.

Krasner said his office wants to focus on middle and higher-level dealers, as opposed to peddlers on street corners who are easily replaced.

“When you see the sales going on in this case, that person is not selling to drug addicts. That person was selling in bundles,” said Assistant District Attorney Paul Reddel, supervisor of the office’s Dangerous Drug Offenders Unit. “They’re feeding other drug dealers.”

Kensington fentanyl
Assistant District Attorney Paul Reddel speaks Thursday, May 16, during a news conference announcing a Kensington drug bust.JACK TOMCZUK

State police began monitoring Williams in January, and investigators made three undercover purchases from her, Reddel said. Authorities then acquired a warrant to search a property on Kensington Avenue.

Prosecutors said they found around 1,100 bags of alleged fentanyl, which Krasner said has a “street value” between $5,500 and $11,000.

More than 1,400 people died of unintentional drug overdoses in Philadelphia – a record high – in 2022, the most recent year for which data is available. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, was the most common substance involved in the fatalities.

Officers also recovered a 9mm handgun, a .32 caliber revolver and a bag of ammunition, the DA’s Office said. Prosecutors added that the weapons would be entered into a database to determine whether the firearms are connected to any shootings or other crimes.

Kensington fentanyl
This evidence photo shows the two handguns allegedly recovered from Jada Williams.PROVIDED / DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

The property that was raided, on the 3100 block of Kensington Avenue near Clementine Street, was along the route where Mayor Cherelle Parker’s administration cleared a homeless encampment May 8.

“Being able to do the encampment resolution and having this operation be as successful as it was absolutely has a positive impact on the community,” City Councilmember Quetcy Lozada said at the news conference.

Williams remained jailed Sunday on $500,000 bail, of which she must post 10%. A judge ordered that any money used to post bond must be verified as coming from legitimate sources, according to court documents.

Court records indicate that Williams was arrested four times last year on a variety of charges relating to drugs and receiving stolen property. Those cases were diverted to treatment court.