More than six years after his arrest, with a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling in the interim, the alleged leader of a narcotics ring from Lakewood is convicted - and Daryel Rawls is a fugitive.

Daryel Rawls (Ocean Co. Dept. of Corrections)
Daryel Rawls (Ocean Co. Dept. of Corrections)

Rawls, 36, has a life sentence awaiting him, for a first-degree charge of leading a narcotics trafficking network, according to the office of Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato.

The jury in Toms River also returned verdicts of guilty for second-degree countsof conpsiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

County investigators and US Marshals Service are coordinating the search for Rawls. Anyone knowing his whereabouts is urged to call the Prosecutor's Office, 732-929-2027.

Authorities said that Rawls was targeted in a wiretap probe called Operation Baked Zito, which spanned several counties including Ocean, Monmouth and Union.

He was arrested October 17, 2010, one of 13 suspects. Detectives said that Rawls had more than 20 bricks, or 1,000 bags, of heroin, and 26 grams of powder cocaine when he was apprehended.

The March 22 verdict ends a trial that began on February 28 of this year. Rawls was represented by attorney Keith Reid. Prosecutors enlisted several co-defendants to testify against Rawls.

Detectives Anthony Sgro, Ken Hess, Casey Long and James Kingston of the Prosecutor's Office, Ocean County Sheriff's Officer Joanne Maffei, New Jersey State Police Detective Thomas Kulpinski and Trooper Jeffrey Greco also took the stand.

The Supreme Court decision related to the interception of spousal communications between Yolanda Terry and Tern Savoy. Justices upheld a lower-court ruling that allowed the conversations to be admitted into evidence.

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