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Press Release

Philadelphia Area Drug Trafficker Sentenced to Over 26 Years in Prison After Being Convicted at Trial

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Vontez Scales, 29, of Philadelphia, PA was sentenced to 320 months in prison, ten years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $4,000 fine by United States District Judge Mark A. Kearney for his leadership role in a large scale drug trafficking ring.

Following a lengthy investigation in 2018, including a series of court-ordered wiretaps, the defendant and his co-conspirators were charged by Indictment with multiple drug offenses, including conspiracy to distribute narcotics and possession with intent to distribute narcotics. Scales was a member of the “Skipworth” drug trafficking organization, which sold bulk quantities of crystal methamphetamine, fentanyl, heroin and cocaine worth millions of dollars in Philadelphia and its surrounding suburban counties. Scales’ co-conspirators, Damir Skipworth (the group’s ring leader), Jarrett Cobb, and Tyrone Smith all previously pleaded guilty to federal drug trafficking charges in this case and received significant prison sentences: Skipworth more than eight years, Cobb more than five years, and Smith more than three years.

In December 2019, Scales was convicted at trial of possession with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin, arising from his sales and purchases of large quantities of drugs to and from co-conspirators. The defendant bought crystal methamphetamine in pound quantities from a co-conspirator, with the intention to sell it, and in turn sold large quantities of heroin laced with fentanyl back to the co-conspirator to distribute to other members of the group. Scales used the cash proceeds from his illegal drug dealing for things like car rentals, hotels and luxury clothing, including purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue of over $28,000. Scales was previously convicted twice of drug trafficking, and each time received a lengthy prison term.

“Scales and his co-conspirators pumped huge quantities of deadly, addictive drugs into Philadelphia and its suburbs,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Drug trafficking is an extremely dangerous business for those engaged in it and for everyone else around them. Our Office is determined to protect the communities impacted by drug trafficking by investigating and convicting criminals like those in the Skipworth organization.”

“By conducting millions of dollars of business in meth, heroin, cocaine and fentanyl, the Skipworth drug trafficking organization was a blight on all of southeastern Pennsylvania,” said Bucks County District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub. “Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the DEA and the Bucks County Drug Strike Force, this criminal organization’s doors have been shut for good.”

The case was investigated by the Bucks County Detective Bureau and the Drug Enforcement Administration, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher Parisi and Andrea Foulkes.


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Updated August 4, 2020

Drug Trafficking