For the second time in three months, two Barnegat residents have been busted for dealing drugs out of Ocean County homes and they also have two new accomplices.

Perhaps, another example on how the new Bail Reform laws enacted under the Murphy administration have caused a wrinkle in effectively addressing the drug epidemic.

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Elex Hyman, 49, of Barnegat, Jaime Steen, 38, of Barnegat were arrested June 30 after Ocean County investigators learned that were using a Barnegat home to store and deal cocaine.

Detectives later learned that Hyman and Steen were working with Jessie Jackson, 38, of South Toms River and Alicia Walker, 44, of Union Beach who they met in Toms River.

In this investigation Detectives recovered about 63 grams of powder and crack cocaine, 150 wax folds of heroin and 100 Ecstasy tablets as well as $14,500 in US currency.

Steen was the only one of the four released pending a future court date while Hyman and the other two were held until their detention hearings.

Hyman and Steen, once out of jail, found two new accomplices to run a drug scheme, Kevin Collins, 37, and Daysha Kelly, 35, who were using their home in Pine Beach while Hyman and Steen were operating out of a home in Lakewood where they were storing and dealing Heroin, Fentanyl and Cocaine.

On Thursday August 12, Hyman and Steen were arrested again, for running another drug scheme.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced the arrests following the completion of the narcotics investigation in Ocean County.

Multiple agencies, led by the OCPO, were conducting this investigation and on August 10 OCPO Narcotics Strike Force Detectives as well as those from Pine Beach Police, Barnegat Police's Crime Reduction Unit and Toms River Police's Special Enforcement Unit were conducting surveillance on the Pine Beach home when they saw Collins and Kelly leave and head to the Ocean County Mall with public transportation.

While they were gone from the home, the Ocean County Regional SWAT Team executed a court authorized search warrant and found about 1,300 wax folds of Heroin, 134 Ecstasy Pills, 2 semi-automatic 9mm handguns and $9,740 in cash.

Meanwhile back at the Ocean County Mall, Collins and Kelly, were arrested and found to be in possession of about 100 wax folds of Heroin, 22 grams of Crack-Cocaine and $1,230 in cash.

On August 11, OCPO-NSF Detectives, Lakewood Police's Street Crimes Unit & K9 Unit and patrol officers executed a court-authorized search warrant on the residence in Lakewood.

"Though nothing of evidentiary value was located at the residence, Lacey Township Police Officers performed a motor vehicle stop on a vehicle being operated by Hyman - with Steen as a passenger - in Lacey Township," Prosecutor Billhimer said in a statement.

Hyman and Steen were arrested and found with $5,780 in cash.

All four residents of Ocean County have been arrested, charged and are currently being detained pending a detention hearing.

Could New Jersey's Bail Reform Law, altered in 2018, have prevented these new deals and arrests?

In November of 2018, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer told Townsquare Media Jersey Shore News, that bail reform has helped where it's designed to in releasing eligible prisoners who don't have access to money but that it's hurt individuals who are addicted to drugs and arrested for possession with the intent to distribute.

They're then released within 72-hours.

"People who need treatment are getting out in three or four days and haven't sufficiently detoxed and now they're back on the streets," Billhimer said in 2018. "In the old days, you put a monetary bail on somebody that was charged with possession or possession with intent to distribute while somebody who was a user would stay in jail and the judge would order some kind of services and that would start the rehabilitation process...bail reform has taken that part of it away."

Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden has raised several concerns over the years regarding New Jersey's new Bail Reform laws and in an exclusive interview inside the Monmouth County Correctional Facility in 2019, echoed those thoughts.

In part, Sheriff Golden said that when someone is arrested for a drug offense and then brought to their facility, some may detox, but others relapse after being released or go back to old habits.

"Whatever your addiction was that day, whether it was four bags of heroin or eight bags of heroin and now you're detoxing for 48 or 72-hours and you're going back onto the streets, you can't do that same eight bags, you'll overdose and die," Golden said. "Is that doing the person any good if they're just going to go out and re-offend or with the addiction, re-use or abuse the substance? That's not doing anybody any good."

On Thursday, August 12, 2021, four Ocean County residents were arrested including two who were caught in June doing the exact same thing.

Kevin Collins, of Pine Beach, is being charged with Possession of More than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces of Heroin With Intent to Distribute, Possession of More than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces of Cocaine With Intent to Distribute, Possession of More than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces of Ecstasy Pills With Intent to Distribute, Possession of Heroin, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Ecstasy Pills, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Controlled Dangerous Substance Offense and Being a Certain Person Prohibited from Possessing a Weapon.

Daysha Kelly, of Pine Beach, is charged with Possession of More than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces of Heroin With Intent to Distribute, Possession of More than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces of Cocaine With Intent to Distribute, Possession of More than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces of Ecstasy Pills With Intent to Distribute, Possession of Heroin, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Ecstasy Pills, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and two counts of Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Controlled Dangerous Substance Offense.

Elex Hyman, of Barnegat, is charged with Conspiracy to Possess More than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces of Heroin With Intent to Distribute, Conspiracy to Possess More than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces of Cocaine With Intent to Distribute and Conspiracy to Possess More than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces of Ecstasy Pills With Intent to Distribute.

Jamie Steen, of Barnegat, is charged with Conspiracy to Possess More than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces of Heroin With Intent to Distribute, Conspiracy to Possess More than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces of Cocaine With Intent to Distribute and Conspiracy to Possess More than One-Half Ounce but Less than Five Ounces of Ecstasy Pills With Intent to Distribute.

In the investigation, Prosecutor Billhimer said the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Asset Forfeiture Unit, Ocean County Regional SWAT Team, Pine Beach Police Department, Barnegat Township Police Department Crime Reduction Unit and Patrol Division, Toms River Township Police Department Special Enforcement Unit and Patrol Division, Lakewood Township Police Department Street Crimes Unit, Lakewood Township Police Department Special Response Team, Lakewood Township Police Department K-9 Unit, Lakewood Township Police Department Patrol Division, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, Lacey Township Police Department, and Seaside Heights Police Department Detective Bureau, were all involved.

(Photo: The Ocean County Prosecutors Office)

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