Reading, PA – Investigators seized heroin, cocaine and two firearms in Wednesday’s raid of an apartment building at 800 Franklin St., according to court papers, shedding new light on a crime scene that drew hundreds of onlookers amid rumors that circulated on social media.
Investigators arrested two 20-year-old men, an occupant of a first-floor apartment and an occupant of a second-floor apartment, investigators said.
A search warrant for the first-floor apartment was obtained the previous night by city vice investigators. Police cordoned off the sidewalks in the southeast corner of Eighth and Franklin streets.
Large crowds gathered in the area as investigators continued to go in and out of the building as late as Wednesday afternoon.
Police also spent time inspecting a car parked in front of the building on Franklin Street.
Officers had placed crime scene tape around the car and covered the windows with a tarp before towing it Wednesday evening.
District Attorney John T. Adams said that he couldn’t comment if the car was part of the investigation.
Thursday morning, Adams declined to say whether the Franklin Street investigation is related to the investigation of the murder of Madison M. Walb, a 23-year-old Exeter Township woman whose body was found in a wooded area in Lower Heidelberg Township on Sunday afternoon.
The presence of Adams and his chief detective, Michael J. Gombar, fueled rumors that a homicide had occurred there, but Adams said Thursday that no bodies were found at the scene and investigators were not looking for any bodies.
“All of the activity there is part of an ongoing investigation, and we’ll release more details about that in the near future,” Adams said Wednesday night.
Reading Police Chief Andres Dominguez Jr., who was attending Wednesday’s City Council meeting, was asked by council members about the police activity at Eighth and Franklin.
Dominguez said there was a “possible homicide” at the location, but he was not prepared to openly discuss the case.
According to the probable cause affidavit, investigators wanted to search the first-floor apartment and the persons of three unidentified individuals. Investigators provided the following account in court papers:
Shortly before 7 a.m., vice and patrol officers, accompanied by a K9 unit and Berks County detectives, forced open the front door of the first-floor apartment and took an occupant, Christopher Morales-Feliciano, into custody.
They searched the apartment and confiscated a total of 87 small zipper bags of cocaine, half of which was crack and half the powder form of the drug; 49 glassine baggies of heroin; various drug-packaging materials; more than $1,200 and two loaded pistols.
Investigators also went to the second-floor rear apartment of the same building as part of an apparently related investigation and made contact with Munib G. Tapio-Gomez and a female occupant.
The two allowed police to search the residence and officers found a .223 caliber, semi-automatic rifle outside the rear door leading to a sitting area.
Tapia-Gomez subsequently made a statement acknowledging possession of the rifle, even though he is prohibited from possessing a firearm due to robbery conviction.
Morales-Feliciano and Tapia-Gomez each were committed to Berks County Prison after arraignment late Wednesday before District Judge Alvin B. Robinson in Reading Central Court.
Morales-Feliciano is charged with possessing and intending to deliver controlled substances and related counts. His bail was set at $200,000.
Tapia-Gomez was charged only with having the rifle while prohibited. His bail was set at $10,000.
Both were still in jail Thursday.
Editor’s Note – Written by Michael Yoder and Steven Henshaw