Teaming Up to Fight Drug Gangs in NJ [AUDIO]
A total of 22 people are facing charges in what's being described as the biggest drug bust in Camden in a decade.
Gang members of two inter-connected drug organizations allegedly ran open-air drug markets in parts of the city, selling crack, heroin and powder cocaine.
New Jersey's top federal lawman says authorities on the local, state and federal levels worked together on this case, and similar efforts involving other drug cases continue all over the state.
"Everyone needs to understand you don't always have to moving big, huge quantities of cocaine or suitcases full of dirty money for us to notice you. Sometimes all it takes is to be the source of a river of poison that runs through a few city blocks," said U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman, during a news conference in Camden Wednesday. "One of the reasons we look at particular neighborhoods and we look at particular drug dealers is because of the impact they are having on a block or a street, so if you are those people, understand that we take it enormously seriously, we will not tolerate it and we will look for you."
Fishman said collaborative efforts are a key element of success when it comes to cracking down on drug traffickers.
"People who are investigating violent crime should share intelligence, talk to each other on a daily basis, and figure out who is investigating what to make sure we're getting the biggest bang for our collective buck that we can get," Fishman said.
FBI Special Agent Ed Hanko said progress is being made in clamping down on drug dealers, but more education and community involvement is essential.
"We cannot, nobody can arrest their way out of the problem," he said.
He also stressed that having tougher federal prison sentencing guidelines is sending a clear message to the bad guys.
"I've actually seen defendants when they are read at their initial appearance - that a sentencing is 20 years mandatory - actually seen them faint," he said.