U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania
(215) 861-8200
September 16, 2015

Violent Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 27 Years

PHILADELPHIA—Joseph Adens, 32, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced today to 27 years in prison for his involvement in two drug conspiracies, a money laundering conspiracy, and his possession and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Adens pleaded guilty on May 8, 2015, after eight days of trial. In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Gene E.K. Pratter ordered 10 years of supervised release, a fine of $4,000, and a $600 special assessment.

Adens shot co-conspirator Tasfa Payne, seven times at close range with a .45 caliber handgun, on June 13, 2011, after eleven kilograms of cocaine failed to arrive in Philadelphia from California. The shooting occurred in front of the Universal Bluford Elementary School, on the 1400 block of Alden Street, and forced the school to lockdown its students. Following the shooting, Adens continued to be involved with drug trafficking. Specifically, in March 2012, Adens moved to Woodland Hills, California, where he continued to facilitate the transportation of multiple kilograms of cocaine and hundreds of pounds of marijuana from California to Philadelphia for distribution. Adens also used multiple individuals’ bank accounts at financial institutions with branches in both Pennsylvania and California. Adens arranged for his drug proceeds to be deposited in Philadelphia and then withdrawn in California to be used to purchase additional drugs.

The case was investigated jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance provided by the Los Angeles International Airport Narcotics Task Force and the Philadelphia Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karen S. Marston.

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