News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 4, 2007

For further Information Contact:
Special Agent Douglas S. Collier,
Public Information Officer
TEL: (973) 776-1143
CEL: (862) 849-9833

Ten Arrested In New Jersey On Drugs and Weapons Charges Including Member Of The Latin Kings

OCT 4 -- (NEWARK) – Gerard P. McAleer, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA New Jersey Division and Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis A. Valentin, announced that commencing on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 and continuing on Friday, September 28, 2007, personnel from the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office's Narcotics Strike Force and Gang Investigations Unit arrested 10 individuals, including a member of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, on charges including drug distribution and weapons offenses committed throughout Monmouth County, New Jersey. The arrests were made with the assistance of the New Jersey State Police, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Long Branch Police Department, Neptune Township Police Department and Asbury Park Police Department.

Gerard P. McAleer Special Agent in Charge, stated “This operation is yet another example our combined federal, state, county, and local efforts to remove violent gang and drug traffickers from wherever they pursue their trade, and to make the community a safer place.”

Prosecutor Luis A. Valentin stated "These arrests demonstrate the commitment of all law enforcement agencies to work cooperatively to investigate and prosecute gang and drug related offenses in our communities. We will always utilize our federal, state, county and local law enforcement partners to identify street gang members and to halt their criminal activity. All of the participating law enforcement agencies are commended for their strong support of this valuable partnership. We can achieve so much more by working together instead of working independently.”

The arrests were the culmination of a cooperative investigation involving numerous law enforcement agencies during which approximately 15 pounds of cocaine, with an estimated street value of approximately $500,000, were seized, as well as significant quantities of heroin and marijuana. In addition, several handguns, hollow-point bullets, bulletproof vests, drug paraphernalia and thousands of dollars in U.S. currency were also seized.

The individuals who were arrested include the following:

Ramon Rodriguez, a/k/a “Peachy”

Ramon Rodriguez, 34, of Long Branch, N.J., who has been documented by law enforcement as a member of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation, was arrested on September 28, 2007 in Long Branch. Rodriguez was arrested on complaints charging him with third degree Possession of Cocaine, first degree Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, first degree Distribution of Cocaine, and second degree Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine.

At the time of his arrest, Rodriguez was found to be in possession of cocaine, resulting in an additional charge of third degree Possession of Cocaine. Judge Lawson set Rodriguez's total bail at $1,510,000.

Ricardo Padro

Ricardo Padro, 30, of Neptune Township, N.J., was arrested on September 28, 2007 in West Long Branch, N.J. Padro was charged with third degree Possession of Cocaine, 5 counts of second degree Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, 5 counts of second degree Distribution of Cocaine, 2 counts of first degree Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, 2 counts of first degree Distribution of Cocaine, and one count of second degree Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine.

At the time of his arrest, Padro was found to be in possession of approximately one ounce of cocaine and a .380 caliber handgun. As a result, Padro has been charged with the additional crimes of third degree Possession of Cocaine, second degree Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, third degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, second degree Possession of a Firearm while in the Course of Committing a Drug Offense and second degree Certain Persons not to Possess Firearms. Judge Lawson set Padro's total bail at $1,610,000.

Tyson Abel, a/k/a “I-Nat” and Kathleen Russo

Tyson Abel, 31, and Kathleen Russo, 24, were arrested on September 28, 2007 at their residence in Neptune City, N.J. on complaints charging them with third degree Possession of Cocaine, first degree Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, first degree Distribution of Cocaine, and second degree Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine.

Following their arrest sixty-eight "bricks" of heroin (3,400 bags) and a loaded .380 caliber handgun were recovered from their residence. A "brick" is a bundle of 50 bags of heroin. As a result both were also charged with third degree Possession of Heroin, second degree Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin, third degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun and second degree Possession of a Firearm while in the Course of Committing a Drug Offense. Abel was additionally charged with second degree Certain Person not to Possess Firearms. Judge Lawson set bail for Abel at $2,050,000 and for Russo at $1,050,000.

Tyson Abel had previously been arrested on August 10, 2007 in Ocean Township, N.J., after he was found to be in possession of approximately 4 kilograms of cocaine. A kilogram is equivalent to approximately 2.2 pounds. At that time, Abel was charged with third degree Possession of Cocaine, first degree Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, and fourth degree Resisting Arrest. Superior Court Judge Jamie S. Perri set bail on the August 10th charges at $300,000.

Michael Smith, a/k/a "Mas"

Michael Smith, 21, of Neptune Township, N.J. was arrested at his residence on September 28, 2007. Smith was arrested on complaints charging him with third degree Possession of Cocaine, first degree Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, first degree Distribution of Cocaine, and second degree Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine. Judge Lawson set Smith's bail at $1,000,000.

Michael Smith had previously been arrested on August 5, 2007 in the City of Long Branch, after he was found in the possession of approximately 200 grams of cocaine. At that time, Smith was charged with third degree Possession of Cocaine, first degree Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, and third degree Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine within 1000 feet of School Property. Superior Court Judge Paul F. Chaiet set bail on those charges at $100,000.

Alejandro Burgos

Alejandro Burgos, 27, of Long Branch, N.J., was arrested at his residence on September 28, 2007. Burgos was arrested on complaints charging him with third degree Possession of Cocaine, first degree Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, first degree Distribution of Cocaine, and second degree Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine.

At the time of his arrest Burgos was found to be in possession of approximately 7 ounces of cocaine and two loaded handguns, a .45 caliber and a 9-mm. As a result, Burgos was issued additional complaints charging him with third degree Possession of Cocaine, first degree Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, fourth degree Possession of Hollow Point Bullets, two counts of third degree Unlawful Possession of a Handgun, second degree Possession of a Firearm while in the Course of Committing a Drug Offense, and second degree Certain Persons not to Possess Firearms. Judge Lawson set Burgos' bail at $2,050,000.

The crimes that Padro has been charged with are alleged to have been committed in the fall of 2006 and between May and September of 2007. The charges against the remaining defendants are alleged to have been committed between May and September of 2007.

Luis Negron, Angel Aviles, Luis Maldonado & Luz Torres

Luis Negron, 33, of Carteret, N.J., and Angel Aviles, 34, and Luis Maldonado, 43, both of Newark, N.J., were arrested on September 25, 2007, in Newark and charged with third degree Possession of Cocaine, first degree Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine and second degree Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, after they were found to be in possession of approximately one kilogram of cocaine.

Following their arrest, a lawful search of the Roselle, N.J., residence of Negron's girlfriend, Luz Torres, 45, resulted in the recovery of approximately 2 additional kilograms of cocaine. As a result, Luz was arrested and charged with third degree Possession of Cocaine, first degree Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine and second degree Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine.

Judge Lawson set Negron's bail at $2,000,000, Aviles' and Torres' bails at $1,000,000 each, and Maldonado's bail at $750,000.

Upon conviction the maximum potential custodial sentence for a fourth degree crime is a State Prison term of up to 18 months, for a third degree crime a term of up to 5 years, for a second degree crime a term of up to 10 years, and for a first degree crime a term of up to 20 years. The crimes of first degree Distribution and Possession with Intent to Distribute also carry a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of up to one half of the sentence imposed. The crime of Certain Persons not to Possess Firearms also carries with it a mandatory five year period of parole ineligibility.

All of the arrested individuals were lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in lieu of bail.

Despite Indictment or being charged in a criminal complaint, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and federal law.

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