Results of a month-long drug investigation prompted police to make their move and put three people behind bars.
It's one of the largest drug busts in Reading in a long time, and the suspects behind it have a violent history, police said.
Rhashid Saunders was believed to be the ring leader, and both he and Andrew Lee Powell were taken into custody following a traffic stop, police said.
After Saunders, 37, and Powell, 23, were taken in, police searched 231 S. 3rd St., an apartment house that sits less than 50 feet from Southwest Middle School.
Officers also searched a 6th floor apartment at the Washington Towers at North 4th and Washington streets.
Police seized 1.5 pounds of crack cocaine with an estimated street value of $65,000, 15 bags of marijuana worth approximately $1,500, $17,427 in cash and other drug paraphernalia.
"We started receiving complaints in the general area for suspicion of drug dealing," said Lt. Madison Winchester, Reading Police Dept.'s vice unit. "They do have a violent history, and it looked like they were coming into Reading to almost set up shop because they were flying under our radar for awhile."
"I have been seeing cars driving here, strange cars, and I didn't understand why, but I'm realizing now," said Mike Pokrywa, who lives across the street from where police said the majority of evidence was seized.
"I just knew there was something going on over there you can tell, you can always tell," said Catherine Wagner, who also lives across the street.
The third suspect, Maria Lopez, was arrested after police made their way inside the apartment.
Saunders, police said, has the most extensive criminal history. He was arrested for felony charges in the tri-state area, and plead guilty in the past to an assault charge in New York.
Saunders was charged with three counts each of possession of marijuana and cocaine, possession with intent to deliver marijuana and cocaine, and delivery of marijuana and cocaine, and one count of criminal conspiracy.
Powell was charged with four counts each of possession of marijuana and cocaine, possession with intent to deliver marijuana and cocaine, and delivery of marijuana and cocaine, and one count of criminal conspiracy.
Lopez, 23, was charged with one count each of possession of marijuana and cocaine, possession with intent to deliver marijuana and cocaine and criminal conspiracy to both charges.