Authorities in Newark have arrested in excess of 30 people in connection with a large drug-selling operation that was bringing in millions of dollars per year, announced today.
Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Acting Attorney General John G. Hoffman said that the three-month investigation, Operation Joint Effort , struck a powerful blow to the distribution of heroin and other drugs across North Jersey.
On Sunday, members of this operation gathered before dawn to raid 14 locations as far away as Sussex County, and emerged with more than 518 bricks of heroin valued at around $300,000.
Along with the heroin, police seized nine cars, including a 2015 Mercedes Benz, more than $70,000 in cash, and an undetermined amount of cocaine. Warrants executed in Bloomfield also turned up around eight pounds of marijuana, authorities said.
Hoffman stated Through these efforts, we re working hard to curb drug-related violence and to stop the scourge of heroin and opiate pain pill abuse that is claiming far too many lives across our state and ripping apart our communities .
Murray said the heroin operation was a middle level distribution ring , and said it was being run by five defendants: Jermaine Nelson, 37, of Edgewater; his sister 22-year-old Shakira Nelson of Newark; Edgar Ortiz, 35, of Newark; Teyoina Solomon, 22, of Newark; and Ibn Walker, 30, of Orange.
Over the course of the three-month investigation, the operation is estimated to have sold more than $1 million in narcotics, according to Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives Anthony Ambrose.
According to judicial records, Jermaine Nelson was sentenced to six years in prison in 2006 for charges related to a murder in front of the Broadway Town homes the year prior. Shakira Nelson was also indicted for witness tampering in the same case.
The siblings and three other defendants were charged with heroin distribution, heroin possession and conspiracy, and are being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility.
Most of the other defendants were charged with lesser offenses including conspiracy and simple drug possession.
Authorities credited the beginnings of the investigation to intelligence gathered by a pair of detectives with the Essex County Prosecutor s Office, Jerod Glover and Maritza Colon.
Over the months to come, the probe included contributions from 26 agencies including the state police, Essex County Sheriff s Office, FBI, and local departments across Essex, Hudson, Bergen, Middlesex and Morris County.
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