Leonard Lavender, the popular Philadelphia cab driver arrested by Radnor Police for allegedly selling drugs to Villanova University students, was also well known for serenading passengers with opera songs, multiple media outlets have revealed.
Lavender, 59, was taken into custody Feb. 29 on Villanova's campus and
charged with drug possession with the intent to distribute and criminal
use of a communication facility, as reported by The Delaware County Times.
Detectives reportedly began an investigation after receiving word of
Lavender's alleged activities from an informant. Police told the Times that an
undercover officer bought marijuana from Lavender near the university's
campus at least three times in two months, revealing a dial-up and
The arrest allegedly netted several bags of marijuana, a digital scale
and cash from Lavender's Main Line Taxi cab. Lavender was arraigned and is out on bail. He waived a preliminary hearing April 5, according to the report.
The paper also has this gem of a quote from Det. Sergeant George Smith dubbing the enterprise a public safety hazard: "... he was a supplier of drugs to
a major university with thousands of students. It could have led to an
overdose or someone walking out in front of a car because they were
hopped up on marijuana."
Lavender was the subject of a Philadelphia Inquirer article last October in which he was dubbed "the opera cabbie of the Main Line." He told the paper that he had 3,617 clients stored in his iPhone. A former dispatcher for Main Line Taxi was also quoted as saying that customers often requested "the opera cab."
Though none of his clients were arrested, it seems some of them may have been patronizing Lavender for a whole host of other reasons, as well.