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Neptune Man Awaits Sentencing for Prison Smuggling Scheme

A Neptune 33-year-old is likely to be given a five-year sentence for his role in smuggling drugs and cell phones into East Jersey State Prison in Woodbridge.

The Scales of Justice
Flickr user srqpix

Dwayne Spears pleaded guilty to second-degree racketeering today in Morris County. He was apprehended during the probe dubbed Operation Heat by the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs and Organized Crime Bureau. Investigators say the scheme involves the Nine Trey Gangster set of the Bloods and the LUchhese and Bonnano organized crime families.

Authorities contend that the scheme centers around Edwin Spears, 38, Dwayne’s brother and an inmate who allegedly ranks high in the Nine Trey Gangsters, and corrections officer Michael T. Bruinton, 48, of Ringoes.

Edwin Spears allegedly formed an alliance with suspected Lucchese member Joseph Perna, 42, of Wyckoff, and Michael Cetta, 45, also of Wyckoff, believed to be a Bonnano family associate linked to the Lucchese operations by marriage.

Dwayne Spears admitted taking money fron Cetta to buy heroin, cocaine, marijuana and prepaid cell phones and giving them to Bruinton to distribute to inmates who ordered them through Edwin Spears.

Investigators assert that payments went by money order or checks to people including Francine Hightower, 54, who has pleaded guilty, and Kristen Gilliam, 29, of Farmingdale. Cetta then used the payments to buy more supplies.

Operation Heat also resulted in racketeering indictments against two Lucchese bosses and 32 members and associates in connection with a gambling operation that netted $2,200,000,000 in 15 months through a web page, toll-free numbers, and an offshore wire room. Authorities say they used violence and extortion to collect debts.

Charges against Edwin Spears, Joseph Perna, Cetta and Gilliam are still pending. Dwayne Spears is to be sentenced August 3.

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