Twenty-one people have been charged in New Jersey in what federal authorities say is a large-scale drug trafficking ring.
New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney’s Office says those charged are allegedly members and suppliers of an organization that distributed heroin and cocaine throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties.
Nineteen people were charged in a complaint unsealed Thursday, including alleged ring-leaders 44-year-old Robert Britt and 41-year-old Rufus Young, both of Asbury Park. Three of those charged are fugitives, and the remaining defendants were already in custody.
Thirteen of those charged were arrested Thursday. Britt has been incarcerated since April 2013 in New Jersey in connection with state offenses.
One defendant, 44-year-old Anthony J. Brooks, is from California, and the rest are New Jersey residents. Brooks and Rashawn Ramos, 37, of Perth Amboy were changed on a separate complaint charging related offenses.
The following individuals were also charged: Thomas Shannon, a/k/a “Cuzzo,” 35, of Asbury Park and Jersey City; Jonathon Thomas, a/k/a “Life”, 38, of Neptune; Antoine Harris, 33, of East Orange; Tyshon Young, a/k/a “Young Boy,” a/k/a “Young Money”, 28, of Asbury Park; Jason O’Neal, a/k/a “Born”, 41, of Farmingdale; Travis Whitfield, a/k/a “Trav”, 29, of Brick; Jamar Johnson, a/k/a “Rep”, 35, of Lakewood; Dawn Rosser, 33, of Lakewood; Valerie Resendes, a/k/a “Val”, 26, of Beachwood; Melissa Piana, 31, of Toms River; Tyree Murray, 26, of Bayville; Kenneth Greenhow, a/k/a “Fame”, 40, of Asbury Park; Robert Ketcham, 27, of Bayville; Richard Durham, 27, of Brick; Kyle Adams, 27, of Barnegat; Kareem Hayes, a/k/a “Bless”, 33, of Belmar; and Matthew Miller, a/k/a “Star”, 39, of Neptune.
Authorities did not say if those charged have secured legal representation.
Police officials in Brick and Toms River praised the law enforcement cooperation.
“Heroin continues a major contributing factor in much of the crime in Brick Township,” Brick Township Police Chief Nils R. Bergquist Jr. said. “We recognize the people who distribute heroin don’t recognize borders and often come from places other than Brick. Our ability to partner with the FBI and Safe Streets Task Force has allowed us to interrupt a significant source of heroin coming into Brick Township. This investigation should serve as a model of how federal, state and local agencies should come together.”
Toms River Police Chief Mitchell Little also noted the team approach to addressing the heroin epidemic.
“In our local fight against narcotics we are pleased to have an excellent working relationship with the FBI as well as the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Little said. “The effort to rid society of drugs cannot be fought on a single front, and this cooperative effort goes to show how effective law enforcement agencies can be when we use a team approach.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.