A major, multi-tier drug ring in Union County is dismantled, after 20 arrests were made last weekend as part of nearly a yearlong investigation.

Joern Pollex, Getty Images

Acting Union County prosecutor Grace Park and Linden police chief James Schulhafer announced Tuesday that large quantities of prescription pills, heroin, MDMA, and medical marijuana were all seized as part of a drug distribution network that operated as a "one-stop shop." The operation involved multiple dealers, from street to distribution level.

"It involved the seizure of approximately 25,000 prescription pills and 4.5 kilograms of MDMA, which is the active ingredient in ecstasy and is also known as 'molly,'" Park said.

Additionally, 60 grams of crack cocaine, 140 grams of cocaine, 140 grams of heroin, 14,000 counterfeit Viagra pills, and more than 10,000 various other prescription pills, totaling more than $525,000 in street value.

Over $100,000 in cash, several handguns, and four vehicles were also seized.

It was the largest seizure of prescription pills in the history of the Union County Prosecutor's Office, and topped the total number of prescription pills processed in the Union County Forensic Laboratory from 2011 to 2013.

Park said it's indicative of the kind of drugs that are now in high demand in the area.

"Ten years ago we didn't have the prescription drug opiate issue and heroin issue that we have today," she said. "Prescription drugs have become a bridge to heroin use, so it really does reflect the demand that we are seeing in our communities."

Warrants and arrests were carried out at around a dozen locations, primarily throughout Union but also Essex County. Those locations include Grier Avenue and East Blancke Street in Linden, Maple Avenue, Laurel Place and West Scott Avenue in Rahway, West Grand Street in Elizabeth, Ampere Parkway in Bloomfield, and Fleetwood Place in Newark.

"Drug trafficking doesn't really have any borders," Park said. "One of the locations that we seized a large amount of drugs was in Essex County. So I think you can say this was in Union County and beyond."

Law enforcement will continue investigating the source of the drugs.

All 20 individuals still await court appearances, including:

  • Aristedes Statiroudis, Bloomfield
  • Michael Dolias, Bloomfield
  • Sergio Pardo, South Plainfield
  • Victor Messina, Elizabeth
  • Brittany Doyle, Roselle
  • Donric Hall, Rahway
  • Anthony McGriff, Linden
  • Kory Reid, Linden
  • John Cherry, Linden
  • Damon Reid, Linden
  • William D. Chavers, Linden
  • Ali Smith, Elizabeth
  • Yolanda Tucker, Rahway
  • Corey Caddle, Jersey City
  • Al-Kabir Boone, Rahway
  • Rodney Butler, Linden
  • Johnny Rozier, Plainfield
  • Deshawn McDonald, Newark
  • Charles Cunningham, Union