TRENTON –An Elizabeth man pleaded guilty to racketeering for his role in a Newark-based ring that distributed millions of dollars a year in illegal prescription painkillers such as OxyContin, Attorney General Anne Milgram and Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni announced today.
According to Gramiccioni, Will T. Jordan, 38, of Elizabeth, pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering and second-degree conspiracy to distribute narcotics before Superior Court Judge Michael J. Nelson in Essex County on April 30. He admitted he acted as a runner, filling fraudulent prescriptions. He faces up to 16 years in state prison. Jordan was on trial with the alleged leader of the ring, Mohamed Hassanain, 43, of West Orange, and three other defendants: Woodrow Newton, 47, of Newark, Ian A. Burrowes, 33, of Union, and Aaron Burrowes, 29, of Union. The trial is continuing for the other defendants.
The charges stem from an investigation by the New Jersey State Police and Division of Criminal Justice, assisted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Fourteen out of 20 defendants charged in the case have entered guilty pleas.
The case is being prosecuted by Supervising Deputy Attorney General Mark Eliades, chief of the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, and Deputy Attorneys General Mark Ondris and Paul Salvatoriello.
Arrests were made in the investigation in January 2007, and the Division of Criminal Justice obtained a state grand jury indictment on Aug. 2, 2007 charging Hassanain and 18 other members of the Newark-based ring. Prior to the indictment, Dr. Mario Comesanas, 53, of Livingston pleaded guilty to first-degree racketeering and second-degree distribution of narcotics for writing thousands of fraudulent prescriptions for the ring. He faces up to 15 years in prison, forfeited $593,000 seized in his home, and permanently forfeited his New Jersey medical license.
In pleading guilty, Comesanas admitted he went to Hassanain’s home on Edgar Road in West Orange to write thousands of fraudulent painkiller prescriptions. Hassanain’s cousin, pharmacist Ahmed F. “Felix”Aly, 33, of Union, is charged with knowingly filling the forged prescriptions at his pharmacy, RGN Pharmacy on Elizabeth Avenue in Newark. Hassanain allegedly ran the ring from his business, Lyons Avenue Auto Sales on Clinton Avenue in Newark, as well as his home.
The investigation, dubbed “Operation Pandora,” determined that the network sold 20,000 to 30,000 OxyContin and Percocet pills per week, with most going to a distribution ring based in the Bronx, N.Y. The Bronx ring in turn sold some of the drugs to a ring in the Boston area. Hassanain and his deputies allegedly used numerous runners to fill the prescriptions at various pharmacies using fraudulent identifications.
Seven defendants pleaded guilty in February to the following charges and face these sentences:
• Enin Martin, 29, of East Orange; first-degree racketeering; up to 17 years in prison.
• Tereke M. Hammond, 32, of Newark; first-degree racketeering; up to 17 years in prison.
• Raul Cruz, 30, of the Bronx, N.Y.; first-degree racketeering; up to 12 years in prison.
• Rick Terrell, 59, of Newark; second-degree racketeering; up to seven years in prison.
• Kimyatta L. Jones, 29, of Newark; second-degree racketeering; up to seven years in prison.
• Tasheemah N. Tyson, 28, of Newark; second-degree racketeering; up to seven years in prison.
• Patricia Fudge, 48, of Newark; second-degree racketeering; up to seven years in prison.
Previously, five other defendants pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering. They are Stephanie “Sara” McLucas, 56, of Maplewood; her son, Jason Edwin Allen Jr., 29, of Newark; Jashima Brice, 57, of Irvington; William S. Leonard, 57, of Orange; and Terry A. Brooks, 33, of Newark. Each faces up to seven years in prison, except McLucas, who faces up to 12 years.
Milgram credited detectives in the State Police Major Crime Unit and investigators in the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. She also credited the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gerard P. McAleer, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, members of the NY/NJ High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, and the New York State Police for assisting in the investigation.
Connect with NJTODAY.NET
Join NJTODAY.NET's free Email List to receive occasional updates delivered right to your email address!