Federal authorities say 16 people — 15 from New Jersey and one from Pennsylvania — have been charged for their alleged roles in a drug trafficking organization that operated in the Garden State.

The following people are each facing one count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl, and heroin:

  • Jaquan Beard, 25, of Newark
  • Joseph Feliciano, 40, of Newark
  • Carlos Lopez, 50, of Newark
  • George Lopez, 49, of Newark
  • Tyree Malone, 36, of Newark
  • Wilberto Cotto, 41, of Elizabeth
  • Reinaldo Cruz, 44, of Elizabeth
  • Steven Garcia, 48, of Elizabeth
  • Adolphus Hunter, 48, of Elizabeth
  • Jermaine Jones, 37, of Elizabeth
  • Nelson Valentin, 37 of Elizabeth
  • Joel Hernandez, 28, of Parlin
  • Jonathan Arce, 36, of Belleville
  • Jose Correa, 53, of Yardley, PA

George Lopez is also charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and cocaine, one count of possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and one count of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

  • 27-year-old Reynaldo Cruz of Elizabeth is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute controlled substances and one count of conspiracy to use and carry a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

According to officials, Reinaldo Cruz, Feliciano, Hernandez, and Quinones distributed controlled substances on behalf of a drug trafficking organization (DTO) in and around Essex and Union Counties in North Jersey. Beard, Correa, Cotto, Garcia, Hunter, Jones, Carlos Lopez, Malone, and Valentin, in turn, received those controlled substances and then distributed them.

An investigation also revealed that George Lopez provided advice and connections regarding sources of supply of controlled substances from jail while he received cash from the DTO, authorities said.

Many of the defendants are alleged to be members and associates of the Latin Kings street gang.

The various charges in this case could send some people to prison for life with fines exceeding millions of dollars.

Out of the 16 people charged, Beard, Correa, Garcia, and Malone remain at large. The remaining defendants have already had their initial court appearances.

The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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