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Contraband
02/14/2008

New Jersey ICE agents take down significant heroin distribution ring

Organization imported and distributed heroin in and around Newark

NEWARK, N.J. - Striking during a late night operation, agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized heroin with a street value of nearly a quarter of a million dollars and dismantled a significant drug distribution ring in Newark. Seven members of the criminal organization were arrested and more individuals are being sought.

Agents seized more than three kilograms of heroin that had been imported into this country and confiscated one semi-automatic handgun during the operation. They also served search warrants at several locations in the Newark area and conducted other consent searches.

ICE agents from the Newark office of investigations developed information on the drug ring more than eight months ago. Last nights operation comes after an intense multi-agency investigation that included wiretaps and extensive surveillance.

The ICE Newark Financial Crimes Group, a federal, state and local task force, conducted the investigation. Members of the New Jersey State Police, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and the Passaic County Sheriff's Department provided significant support during the investigation and operation. The United State's Attorneys Office for the District of New Jersey will prosecute those arrested last night.

"This case is an outstanding example of how ICE investigators follow initial leads and work closely with other federal state and local agencies in order to dismantle an entire criminal drug distribution organization and take dangerous drugs off the streets of New Jersey," said Kyle Hutchins, special agent in charge of the ICE office of investigations in Newark. Hutchins pointed out that the criminal enterprise is also known to have imported and distributed cocaine in the Newark area. In addition to seizing drugs, investigators also confiscated as evidence two automobiles equipped with sophisticated compartments used to secret drugs.

Following their initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Newark, all seven suspects were ordered remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshal. The investigation into the drug ring is ongoing and the government is moving to forfeit at least two properties and buildings owned by one of the co-conspirators in Newark.