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Capt. Al Della Fave (State Police) 609-882-2000 ext. 6514
Lt. Gerald Lewis - ext. 6516
Sgt. Stephen Jones - ext. 6513
Sgt. Julian Castellanos - ext. 6515

April 03, 2008

NJSP & Plainfield P.D. Arrest 91 People
and One Alligator in Major Operation

Operation 5-SPOT Targeted Violent Plainfield Gangs

Elizabeth, N.J. – The New Jersey State Police and the Plainfield Police Department today announced the arrest of more than 90 people in connection with a major street gang investigation dubbed Operation 5-SPOT.  During the early morning raids, one three-foot alligator was seized, along with guns, drugs and other evidence.  In the Union County Administration Building, State Police Lieutenant Colonel Gayle Cameron and Plainfield Police Chief Edward Santiago were joined by Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow to talk about today’s arrests and provide a summary of operation results.

Arrest teams made up of state troopers and Plainfield officers blanketed Union County and even parts of Middlesex County in the early morning hours of today and arrests continued through midday.  Armed with arrest and search warrants prepared by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, police were collecting the remaining targets of this seismic operation.  Some of those arrested are members or associates of local Plainfield gangs named “Clinton Avenue Posse,” “Lib Side Boys” and “116 Boys.”  Many of the local gang members also maintain affiliations with various sets of the Bloods or Crips street gangs. 

The operation began in January after Plainfield Police approached the New Jersey State Police Street Gang Unit requesting help with rising gang violence in their area.  Plainfield officers and troopers working together arrested forty-six (46) people between January 23, 2008 and March 20, 2008, primarily for drug related offenses.  More than 45 additional people were arrested when warrants were executed on Wednesday, April 2nd and today.   A variety of guns, drugs, cash and even body armor were seized along with “SPOT” the reclusive reptile during the arrests and 20 associated search warrants.

“It’s important to get guns and drugs off the street, but Operation 5-SPOT achieved much more by locking up the gang members and associates responsible for creating an environment of violence in Plainfield and the surrounding areas,” said LTC Gayle Cameron.

“We learned that a longstanding rivalry between the two Plainfield gangs led to a recent upsurge in violence and shootings,” Cameron added.  “Many of these gang members placed themselves on our radar screen through their involvement in the illegal drug trade.  By arresting street level
drug dealers, we disrupted the source of gang money, and hence, their power and ability to bring violence to these neighborhoods,” said Cameron.

“The gang problem in New Jersey is never limited to a specific town or jurisdiction,” said Chief Edward Santiago.  “The interrelated nature of criminal gangs, makes it critical to approach this problem with the kind of teamwork that made Operations 5-SPOT successful.”

“Our community thanks the Plainfield detectives and state troopers who were the backbone of this investigation, and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office for their support.  We look forward to the reduction in violence that should follow these significant arrests,” Santiago added.

Operation 5-SPOT was so named for five primary areas contributing to the overall violence within Plainfield.  SPOT is a rough acronym for State Police and Plainfield Operating Together. 

By March 20th, evidence obtained through arrests and warrants included eight handguns, one stun gun, distribution quantities of heroin, powder cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, Oxycontin, and other prescription drugs.  Several thousand dollars in cash, drug scales and a bulletproof vest were also seized.

Prisoners picked up this morning were processed at the Plainfield Police Department and then transferred en masse to the Union County Jail.  The Union County Prosecutor’s Office will be prosecuting the Operation 5-SPOT arrests.

“SPOT” the alligator—as police named it—was transported to the Plainfield Police Department.  The rambunctious reptile was safely removed from the Plainfield apartment by troopers and local officers who placed it in a large aquarium.  It will be transferred to the New Jersey Department of Fish and Game, which will find a permanent home for the alligator.

The list of those arrested as of April 3, 2008 at 1:30 are viewable in this PDF document.


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