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100-count indictment returned for 45 in Monmouth drug sweep

The 45 arrestees caught up in a Monmouth County drug sweep last Fall now have the choice of either pleading guilty, or going to trial.

Arrestees, Operation Justice Served (Monmouth Co. Prosecutor's Office)
Arrestees, Operation Justice Served (Monmouth Co. Prosecutor’s Office)

A grand jury Thursday issued a 100-count indictment against the defendants rounded up in Operation Justice Served, a five-month undercover operation into drug circulation centered in Freehold Borough, according to the office of County Prosecutor Chris Gramiccioni.

The probe began in late Spring of 2016, and arrests took place between September and November. Investigators estimated that the operation spread about 2,500 bags of heroin and 200 grams of cocaine each week.

Federal, state, county and local authorities seized 2,700 bags of heroin, 300 grams of cocaine,16 ounces of marijuana, and an assortment of prescription pills that they claimed were aimed at distribution in and around Freehold.

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Detectives originally focused on Kenneth Crooms, 45, of Freehold Borough, but the scope broadened to 13 others.

Crooms is charged with first-degree counts of distribution of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute; second-degree charges of distribution of heroin and possession with intent to distribute; two counts each of third-degree distribution and possession with intent to distribute controlled dangerous substances, specifically marijuana and pain medications; and one second-degree charge of conspiracy.

Also facing the same charges are: Wellman Crooms, Newman Davis, and Kayla Vold, of Freehold Township; Carson Givens, of Manalapan; Amanda Rivera. of Long Branch; Andre Williams, of Bayonne; Angel Fuentes, of Somerset Township; Juan Heredia, Husmir Salihagic, William Torres, and Michael W. Garrett of Freehold Borough. Garrett also faces a second-degree charge of possession of a firearm during a CDS offense.

Convictions for first-degree charges carry possible sentences of 10 to 20 years. Second-degree crimes are punishable by five to 10 years on conviction. Third-degree charges can mean three to five years on conviction.

Cases against Kelly Andriessen and Erikan Hassan, which excluded the first-degree counts, were resolved before the indictment.

Thirty-three defendants face third-degree charges of possession of controlled dangerous substances. Investigators said they were steady customers of Kenneth Crooms. They include:

  • Ahmed Ibrahim, John Smith Jr., James Mulligan, Fabrizio Illiano, Giovanni Illiano, Richard Burger, Michael Migliore, Jaclyn Nalven, Kevin Bellach, Michael Ferriole, Eric Ousely, Christine Hicks, all of Freehold Township
  • Eric Alleyne, Emmett O’Donnell, Stevens Cordova, Jason Galatro, John Loprete, Michael Perri, Louis Almonte, Peter Stiles, Darren Whiting, James Fair, Miguel Rios-Bautista, all of Freehold Borough
  • Gina Levtov, Austin Ventura, Amanda Dunham, of Manalapan; Shannon Gregory, Richard Pretty, of Howell Township; Cody Olmo, of Oceanport; Anthony Macario, of Jackson; Christopher O’Donnell, of Monroe Township; Kevin Washington, of Millstone; Jennifer Suydam, of Marlboro.Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.

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