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Trio charged with drug ring in Carbon prison

A Jim Thorpe man and two Carbon County inmates have been charged with distributing drugs inside the Carbon County Correctional Facility.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by detectives with the Carbon County District Attorney’s Office in the case against Dominick Gonzalez, and Jason and Candice Bracero:

On July 30, Carbon County Correctional Facility staff members discovered two suspicious letters in that day’s incoming mail that they believed had been soaked with illegal substances, both bearing the return address of “Roach Law LLC,” and were hand-addressed to brother and sister inmates Candice and Jason Bracero.

The envelopes contained handwritten letters in the same style as the writing on the envelopes, and were postmarked at Nesquehoning on July 28.

Staff reported two similar mailings were received and delivered unopened to Candice and Jason on July 16. Both letters were sloppily handwritten and refer to a $300,000 inheritance, and the papers appeared to have been wet and then dried. The letter to Candice states the inheritance is from a great-aunt.

Detectives then consulted with staff at the Nesquehoning Post Office. A postal clerk specifically recalled the mailings on July 28, as well as similar mailings presented in the weeks prior, and said that the same person, a Hispanic male with salt and pepper hair, had presented them. Nearby surveillance video recorded a Hispanic male driving a gray Sedan arrive in the area on July 28 and enter the post office.

Both letters were later submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police - Wyoming Crime Lab for analysis, and both were found to be impregnated with methamphetamine.

On Aug. 4, CCCF staff intercepted an outgoing letter from Jason addressed to Gonzalez, 56, of the 200 block of Center Street, Jim Thorpe, an address known to be used by both Jason and Candice. The letter provided instructions to send various items through the mail.

On Aug. 11, detectives observed a gray Chevrolet sedan parked in front of that address registered to Gonzalez. From a photo lineup, the postal clerk indicated Gonzalez’s photo was one of two possibly being the person who mailed the letters.

On Aug. 25, the postal clerk contacted detectives and said that the same person had just sent another letter to the CCCF. Detectives spoke with the postal clerk and postmaster, who provided a photocopy of the envelope addressed to Candice, with a return address of “Nick Gonzalez,” Center Street, Jim Thorpe. The letter had been processed and placed in the outgoing delivery to the CCCF. Prison staff removed the letter from the day’s incoming mail.

This letter was submitted to the Pennsylvania State Police - Wyoming Crime Lab for analysis, and was found to be impregnated with heroin, fentanyl and tramadol.

Detectives also reviewed hundreds of recorded prison calls made by Jason and Candice to Gonzalez beginning on July 16.

In a call between Jason and Gonzalez on July 16, Jason asked, “Do I have a great-aunt?” and exclaimed “uppity up!? which is believed to be a slang term for stimulant drugs.

In a subsequent call, Jason described cutting an 8-by-10-inch piece of paper into 80 squares, and selling each square for $20 each. In this call, Jason went on to say “At $20 per serving, do the math, $1,600, yeah, that’s what the mother (expletive) are paying for that … I got them right where I want them.”

In calls between Candice and Gonzalez, the parties spoke extensively about Gonzalez obtaining items from a third party, which he was then to write on after they dried, and mail to both Candice and Jason.

Gonzalez faces charges on two counts each of criminal attempt - contraband; criminal conspiracy - contraband; and possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance along with one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Jason Bracero faces one charge each of contraband, conspiracy regarding contraband/controlled substance and criminal use of a communication facility. Candice Bracero faces two charges each of contraband, conspiracy regarding contraband/controlled substance and one charge of criminal use of a communication facility.

All three are currently incarcerated in the Carbon County Correctional Facility in lieu of $100,000 monetary bail, and scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Oct. 20 before District Judge Casimir T. Kosciolek of Lansford.