NY-to-shore drug probe nets 12 arrests, 8 from Ocean and Monmouth
The lid is ripped off an alleged heroin network that authorities say stretched from the Bronx and upper Manhattan to the Jersey Shore, with 11 suspects under arrest, many from Ocean and Monmouth, and a search for a twelfth in progress.
An indictment unsealed Wednesday in Manhattan federal court accuses James F. Smith III, known as "Trey," "Brim Reaper," and "Reaper," and Quadree Hubbard of Paterson, with obtaining the drugs from Miguel Ariel Susana of the Bronx, aka "Jariel Santos," in an operation that geared up this past May, and continued until this month.
All three were arrested by DEA agents Wednesday, along with Tahmir Rice, Damar Bivins, Jair Oliver, Tysheem Smith, Joel Rosado, Aveena Vitrano-Manley, and Frank DeSanto. Still outside the law is Marcellus Cutler. Tyron Trotman is to be transferred to federal custody after processing on state charges, according to information from Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim of the Southern District of New York, and NJDEA Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski.
James Smith listed as 26 years old, living in Toms River. The Asbury Park Press reported that he was arrested at a family home in Manchester. Susana is listed as age 34, of the Bronx; Hubbard, 24, and Rice, 22. of Paterson; Bivins, 26, of Toms River; Oliver, 24, of Brick; Tysheem Smith, 28, of Lakewood; Rosado, 38, of Freehold; Vitrano-Manley, 23, of Howell; DeSanto, 40, of Stafford; and Trotman, 30, of Manchester.
Each faces one conspiracy count. In addition, Susana, Hubbard, James Smith, Rice, Oliver and Cutler are charged with conspiring to distribute, and to possess with intent to distribute, one kilogram and more of mixtures and substances containing detectable amounts of heroin. Convictions would place them at risk of sentences from 10 years tolife.
Bivins, Tysheem Smith, Rosado and Vitrano-Manley are charged with conspiring to distribute, and possessing with intent to distribute, 100 grams and more of mixtures and substances containing detectable amounts of heroin. If convicted, they would risk terms of five to 40 years.
DeSanto and Trotman are charged with conspiring to distribute, and possessing with intent to distribute, a quantity of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amounts of heroin. They risk sentences of up to 20 years if convicted.
Investigators claim that Susana supplied James Smith and Hubbard, while Rice, Bivins, Olier, Cutler and Tysheem Smith had roles in packaging, obtaining, storing, or pushing the narcotics. DeSanto and Trotman allegedly sold heroin they received from Smith on the streets. Rosado and Vitrano-Manley allegedly pooled money with Smith for large-scale buys.
"As alleged, this organization transported large quantities of heroin from Washington Heights and the Bronx across the Hudson to Monmouth and Ocean Counties in New Jersey, helping to fuel the opioid epidemic plaguing our nation," Kim said in prepared remarks. "Today's arrests of twelve alleged members of this heroin distribution organization is part our sustained commitment, along with our partners at the DEA, to stop the flow of heroin into and out of New York."
Kotowski said, "Today's arrests should send a clear message to the drug traffickers that DEA and our partners are committed to keeping our neighborhoods safe. Those arrested are facing significant time in prison and will no longer be pushing their poison."
Investigations are ongoing. To date, the probe was spearheaded by the DEA Monmouth Ocean HIDTA Task Force. It includes components of DEA, ATF, New Jersey State Police, Monmouth and Ocean County Prosecutors' Offices, and police deparments in Toms River and Neptune Township.
Police departments in Lakewood, Howell, and Freehold Townships, and the Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic, and Union County Sheriff's Offices, along with the office of Acitng New Jersey U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick, were also involved.
Authorities did not indicate whether the defendants have retained attorneys. The government's case is being led by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elizabeth A. Hanft and Michael D. Neff.
Charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless, and until, found guilty in a court of law.