Cooperator in drug case gunned down 45 minutes after leaving court

- A man cut a deal in court in a big drug investigation but less than an hour later he was dead.

It was just after 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, when 41-year-old Anthony Reaves was found shot to death inside his car just off Lindbergh Boulevard in Southwest Philly. Done in by two gunmen in what experts like John Apeldorn with the Citizens Crime Commission call a hit.

"We would call it an execution. I mean they meant to do this guy, they get him from both sides of the car. Over a dozen ballistic pieces of evidence," Apeldorn said.

Reaves had just left court in Delaware County 45 minutes earlier after he plead guilty to being a member of a corrupt drug organization, conspiracy and drug charges. His sentence, just eight years probation for three felonies, no jail time.

"It was a very lenient sentence. You've got three felonies on this guy. For him to just get up and walk out of court there was a big deal made," Apeldron said.

Reaves was a defendant in the highly publicized "Operation Bennett Trifecta", a state and local undercover drug operation, that took down a reputed drug gang from Ruth L. Bennett Home is in Chester. Authorities alleged the organization trafficked in $5 to $15 million in cocaine sales under alleged ringleader James Townsend.

"The Townsend Organization effectively used the cover of the housing development for distribution of large amounts of cocaine," former Attorney General Kathleen Kane said at the time of the arrests in 2016.

A spokesman for the attorney general confirmed Reaves was a cooperator, but not a witness in the upcoming trial later this month. His identity was disclosed months ago. The spokesman said Reaves was offered relocation twice and declined it. AReaves attorney expressed sadness over his murder. He refused comment citing several "ongoing investigations". He called the murder "awfully coincidental".

 

The attorney generals spokesman went on to say the agency is committed to protecting anyone who cooperates with law enforcement to make the community safer. They would not comment on the murder investigation.

 

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