Totowa, N.J. – Today at the State Police Troop B Headquarters in Totowa, Attorney General Paula T. Dow, Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes and New Jersey State Police Acting Deputy Superintendent of Investigations Major Matthew Wilson announced the stunning results of a nearly yearlong cooperative investigation into the drug distribution activities of a Paterson street gang. Arrests totaled more than 170 people, 29 of whom were taken into custody during early morning sweeps today in Paterson.
Those arrested included members of the Fruit Town Brims, a set of the Bloods street gang that operated out of the Fourth Ward of Paterson City. A large, multi-agency task force spread across the city early this morning to execute 9 search warrants and 24 arrest warrants. So far, 22 of the 24 sought on warrants were captured. In addition to the arrests, detectives prior to today have seized 12 guns, and more than 4,000 bags of heroin, crack, marijuana and other drugs. More drugs and cash were confiscated this morning.
Residents and elected officials in the city had raised concerns overrug distribution and violence in the streets of the Fourth Ward. The New Jersey State Police Street Gang Unit worked in conjunction with the Regional Operations Intelligence Center’s analysts to identify the Fruit Town Brims as the primary drug distribution network in the area. Troopers partnering with the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Passaic County Sheriff’s Department, and the Paterson Police Department arrested drug dealers and buyers, and developed a picture of the gang hierarchy.
Detectives identified Tahir Canady, 25 of Paterson, Alshaquen Nero, 25 of Paterson, and Shabli Williams, 29 of Paterson, as members of the Fruit Town Brims and leaders of the narcotics distribution network. All three men were arrested on warrants this morning. Canady and Nero
were charged with being the Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network, and other drug and weapons charges. Williams was charged with Leader of Narcotics Trafficking Network and related charges. All three will be lodged in the Passaic County Jail on $250,000.00 bail.
On two occasions during the investigation, detectives on surveillance observed men fire weapons at unknown subjects. On both occasions the subjects were arrested and the weapons were recovered. Tyrell Floyd, 19 of Paterson, and Asmar Williams, 19 of Paterson, were both charged with Unlawful Possession of a Weapon and related charges.
“Once again, through multi-agency partnerships, intelligence sharing and strategic targeting, New Jersey’s law enforcement delivered a blow to the criminal gangs and drug dealers that have been creating havoc in our cities,” said Attorney General Dow. “The arrests we have made during this targeted operation sends a message to the individuals who are bringing drugs and guns into our communities. This conduct will receive swift and certain consequences.”
“The City of Paterson is safer today because of the hard work and dedication of the multiple law enforcement agencies involved in this 11-month investigation,” said Prosecutor Valdes. “From the onset, this investigation was designed to identify, arrest and prosecute individuals and gangs responsible for violent crime and narcotics trafficking in Paterson. We are confident this large number of arrests will have a significant impact on reducing crime in our city today, and in the future.”
“The people targeted in Operation Fourth Down were identified as prime movers in Paterson crime and drug distribution,” said Major Matthew Wilson, Deputy Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “By identifying them through intelligence-led policing, and taking them out of play through cooperative law enforcement efforts, we have made a very real difference in the quality of life for the citizens in this area.”
In order to get a view of the overall crime patterns of Paterson’s fourth ward, State Police utilized the NJSP Regional Operations Intelligence Center (ROIC) P.O.P. Analysis Initiative. Under the authority of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office the NJ P.O.P. Initiative examines the criminal shooting environment in New Jersey and identifies significant problem areas, provides temporal and geo-spatial analysis, delineates gang related shootings, and draws associations between weapons recovered, recidivist offenders, and shooting motivations across jurisdictional boundaries. This initiative information is necessary for combating violent crime.
In addition to the NJ POP initiative, the New Jersey State Police is also an active partner in the Violent Enterprise Source Targeting (VEST) Program. The VEST program is an innovative, multi-agency collaborative effort to disrupt and dismantle violent criminal organizations in New Jersey. This program utilizes the resources of local, county, state and federal agencies to share intelligence, target the most violent offenders, conduct sustained enforcement operations, and coordinated prosecutions. During this investigation, the fourth ward was identified as a VEST target and one of the most violent areas in Paterson. Additional VEST partners, including the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Passaic County Sheriff’s Department, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Paterson Police Department, assisted in this investigation.
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