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Office of Public Information (609) 882-2000
Capt. Al Della Fave ext. 6514
Lt. Gerald Lewis ext. 6516
Sgt. Stephen Jones ext. 6513
Sgt. Jeanne Hengemuhle ext. 6515

June 13, 2006

Major Drug Distribution Hub Raided In Newark

NEWARK – Essex County Prosecutor Paula T. Dow and Lieutenant Colonel Juan Mattos of the New Jersey State Police announced today that detectives from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Narcotics Task Force and members of the State Police arrested 30 individuals as part of a comprehensive raid of the Bradley Court Housing Complex in Newark. In addition, detectives seized in excess of 3,700 vials of cocaine with a street value of $37,000, more than 8,000 decks of heroin with a street value of $100,000, three firearms and approximately $30,000 in U.S. Currency.

“For too long this housing complex served as a major drug distribution hub in this county. Drug dealers and buyers viewed it as a virtual shopping mall to buy and sell drugs,” said Prosecutor Dow. “Today, we have taken back this community by placing this operation out of business.”

According to Prosecutor Dow, more than 100 law enforcement officers participated in this morning’s raid.

“Since this is a war to rescue a community from the ravages of the drug trade, we brought in an army of troopers and other law enforcement officers. We won this particular battle, but this housing complex cannot be allowed to fall back under the control of the drug dealers who robbed the residents of their right to a safe community,” said Lt. Col. Mattos, Deputy Superintendent for State Police Operations.

The investigation, known as Operation Chainsaw, began in the Fall of 2005. The area has long been plagued by illegal drug sales and ancillary criminal activity, added Thomas S. Fennelly, Director of the Essex County Narcotics Task Force.

According to Fennelly, undercover detectives of the Operation conducted more than 30 drug buys during the investigation. Extensive surveillance was conducted throughout the housing complex.

“It is our goal to improve the quality of life for the residents of this community by ending the constant fear of being held hostage to drug dealers,” said Dow.

All suspects have been lodged in the Essex County Jail pending arraignment in the Essex County Central Judicial Processing Court. Search warrants were authorized by the Honorable Joseph Isabella, an Essex County Superior Court Judge.

Names of the defendants will be available on Essex County Prosecutor’s Web site later today.

The charges are mere accusations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law. For further information, please contact Director/Assistant Prosecutor Thomas S. Fennelly at (973) 274-2816 or (973) 390-0878.

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