TRENTON – The Division of Criminal Justice obtained indictments charging the alleged head, three suppliers and eight others in connection with a narcotics network linked to the Bloods street gang that was dealing heroin and cocaine in two violent Newark neighborhoods, Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced today.
The charges stem from Operation Red Storm, an 18-month investigation led by the Division of Criminal Justice, with assistance from the Boonton Police Department, Newark Police Department, New Jersey Department of Corrections and New Jersey State Police. During the investigation, detectives seized more than 250 “bricks” of heroin, over a kilogram of cocaine, more than $60,000 in cash, four semi-automatic handguns and an assault rifle. A brick of heroin is a bundle of 50 small $10 glassine envelopes of heroin, ready for sale on the street. Nearly 30 other defendants face pending charges that were filed by complaint in June 2010.
“Whenever we take down significant narcotics networks such as this one, our goal is not only to rid the affected neighborhoods of dangerous drugs, but also to eliminate the secondary crimes and violence associated with these illicit enterprises,” said Dow.
“These defendants were trafficking heroin and cocaine in two violent sections of Newark,” said Taylor. “With these indictments, we are taking aim at the various elements of this criminal enterprise, armed with the strong evidence we gathered with our law enforcement partners.”
According to Taylor, two state grand jury indictments were returned on Oct. 14, and a third indictment was returned today. All three indictments charge Ameer Thompson, 29, of Newark, with second-degree conspiracy to distribute narcotics, specifically, heroin and cocaine in one indictment, and heroin in the other two indictments. Thompson allegedly exercised control over the narcotics network.
One indictment also charges Cardiea Harrell, 34, of Edison, who allegedly was a supplier of narcotics within the network, and Aaron Watson, 34, of Newark, who allegedly assisted him as a supplier, using his apartment on Rose Terrace as a “stash house.”
Harrell and Watson are charged with conspiracy, money laundering and drug offenses, including a charge of first-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, related to cocaine allegedly found during a search of Watson’s apartment. That charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in state prison. In addition, Harrell could face up to 10 years in prison, including five years of parole ineligibility, on a charge of possession of a gun as a convicted felon, in connection with a loaded semi-automatic handgun allegedly seized by detectives when they executed a search warrant at his home.
A third man who allegedly supplied heroin, Sirajj Vickers, 30, of Tobyhanna, Pa., was charged with second-degree conspiracy and second- and third-degree drug offenses.
Eight other defendants were indicted on charges of second-degree conspiracy and various second- and third-degree drug offenses.
The investigation focused on a network that was distributing heroin and cocaine in two sections of Newark: the Fabyan Place area and the “Chadwick Corridor” including Avon and Chadwick Avenues. The Chadwick Corridor has been identified by the Newark Police Department as one of the most violent districts in the city.
The indictments are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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