Union County authorities bust major drug network, arrest 20, in Elizabeth, Linden, Rahway, elsewhere

Authorities seized the most prescription pills ever in Union County while busting 20 members of a North Jersey heroin ring that operated from fortified locations in Linden, Elizabeth and elsewhere outfitted with sophisticated surveillance systems, Acting Prosecutor Grace H. Park said today.

Several law enforcement agencies combined for a series of raids at sales sites and stash houses that turned up 4.5 kilograms of Molly (MDMA), 14,000 counterfeit Viagra pills and more than 100 bottles containing a cumulative total of more than 10,000 units of various prescription pills – surpassing the total number of pills processed at the county’s forensic lab from 2001 through 2013, Park said during a news conference.

They also seized 140 grams of cocaine, 140 grams of heroin, 60 grams of crack cocaine, along with two handguns, four vehicles and $116,500 in suspected drug proceeds, capping a year-long investigation into what the prosecutor called a “a multi-tiered distribution ring that essentially served as a one-stop shop for illegal drugs being sold throughout the county.”

The drugs have a combined estimated street value of more than $525,000, she said.

Those arrested include defendants identified as high-level members of the the G-Shine set of the Bloods street gang, who are active in Linden, Elizabeth, Rahway, and Roselle. Park said a third of the people arrested are gang members.

More than a dozen agencies participated in the coordinated takedown, which Park said began late Friday and continued into yesterday. Among the dozen locations they hit:

  • Grier Avenue and East Blancke Street in Linden;
  • Maple Avenue, Laurel Place, and West Scott Avenue in Rahway;
  • West Grand Street in Elizabeth;
  • Ampere Parkway in Bloomfield;
  • Fleetwood Place in Newark.

The Grier Avenue house served as a “fully functional heroin mill,” Park said.

“The building was fortified with thick planks of wood mounted on the insides of doors and a comprehensive surveillance system,” she said.

Similar video surveillance systems were also in place at the West Grand Street apartment in Elizabeth, where customers routinely bought various types and amounts of drugs behind the building, Park said.

The investigation began as a joint effort by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and Linden police at the Grier Avenue location.

Detectives determined that Dondric Hall, 34, of Rahway, and Anthony McGriff, 27, of Linden Hall – both high-ranking members of the G-Shine set – were being supplied the drugs by 40-year-old Sergio Pardo of South Plainfield. Pardo, she said, was being supplied by Aristedes Statiroudis, 39, of Bloomfield.

“Raw heroin was brought to the house where it was cut, or mixed, with various agents, then packaged in small bags that were bundled into bricks of 50 bags each,” Union County Assistant Prosecutor James Tansey said.

Also charged were: Elizabeth residents Victor Messina, 29, Ali Smith, 23; Linden residents Kory Reid, 34, Damon Reid, 40, John Cherry, 36, Rodney Butler, 42, and William Chavers, 33; Yolanda Tucker, 49, and Al-Kabir Bone, 25, both of Rahway, Brittany Doyle, 28, of Roselle, Johnny Rozier, 41, of Plainfield, and Travis Dixon, 35, and Charles Cunningham, 54, both of Union.

Also: Michael Dolias, 40, of Bloomfield, Corey Caddle, 38, of Jersey City, Deshawn McDonald, 29, of Newark.

Bails range from $100,000 to $500,000, Park said.

ucdrugbust1111 In addition to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the Linden Police Department, other agencies assisting in the investigation and the executing of search warrants included: Berkeley Heights Police; Bloomfield Police; Clark Police; Elizabeth Police; Essex County Prosecutor’s Office; Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office; New Jersey State Police TEAMS (Tactical Emergency and Missions Specialists); Newark Police; Rahway Police; Roselle Police; Roselle Park Police; Union Township; Union County UCERT; Union County Police; Union County Sheriff’s Office; Westfield Police

PHOTOS: Maya Chung

PHOTOS: Maya Chung