ELIZABETH—Last weekend, the television program “America’s Most Wanted” featured a lengthy segment on Luqman Abdullah. The alleged Union County drug kingpin is wanted on racketeering, narcotics and weapons charges.
Abdullah was last seen by Clifton police on Sept. 24. He was the passenger in a car stopped by police, but Abdullah escaped by providing police with a fake license, running across Route 3 and fleeing into the woods, according to the prosecutor’s office. He is believed to be armed and highly dangerous, according to the prosecutor’s office.
Since the program aired on Saturday night the Union County Prosecutor’s Office has received dozens of tips, but investigators urge anyone with information to contact Crimestoppers at 1-908-654-TIPS (8477). There is a reward of up to $5,000 for anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and indictment of Abdullah, authorities said.
Abdullah, 27, rose to prominence in this area when he participated in the shooting of a rival drug dealer in the trunk of his car, assisted by three other men, including twin brothers Naim and Hamid Holloway, said Union County Prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow.
All four were convicted for their roles in the shooting. Following this event, Abdullah gained a bloody stranglehold on the cocaine trade in that area of Elizabeth and later expanded into portions of Newark, according to authorities. Anyone who sold cocaine on Abdullah’s turf had to purchase it from him or face violent retaliation, Romankow said.
Abdullah’s reputation for violence was further solidified by a 2006 conviction for possession of a machine gun, along with a quantity of cocaine, following his arrest in an apartment in Newark. His co-defendant in that case, Saud Goosby, was later gunned down on the streets of Newark, said Romankow.
Members of the Union County Narcotics Strike Force began investigating a drug operation last November and through a variety of information-gathering techniques were able to successfully map out the group, headed by Abdullah, Romankow said.
Dubbed Operation Red Zone, investigators raided several locations in April 2009 including an apartment on Chancellor Avenue in Newark that held “nothing but drugs, guns and the equipment necessary to cut and process cocaine,” said Romankow.
According to the investigation, the ring operated in Essex and Union counties. A conservative estimate is that the group put at least two kilos of cocaine on the streets every week with a street value of $350,000 per kilo, authorities said.
Authorities arrested 21 alleged associates and co-conspirators and seized over $80,000 in drug proceeds, an AK-47 assault rifle stolen from North Carolina, three handguns and mass quantities of cocaine. Approximately seven pounds of cocaine—enough to fill over 30,000 vials for street level distribution—were seized from a stash house that Abdullah and his two closest lieutenants frequented in Newark, said Romankow. All were indicted by a Union County Grand Jury last month.
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