DEA and Morris County Prosecutor's Office Announce Gang Arrests
DEC 16 -- (NEWARK) – Gerard P. McAleer, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New Jersey Division and Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office announce gang arrests in Morris County.
The following is Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi’s comments made during the press conference on 12-15-08 regarding a Gang, Gun and Drug Sweep which concluded on Friday, December 12, 2008. This release also includes a quote from New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram and Assistant Special Agent in Charge John G. McCabe of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.
Prosecutor Robert A Bianchi, Esq.:
At 6 a.m. Friday, December 12 th, The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, federal, state and local law enforcement officers launched the third phase of an aggressive mission to shut down a gang, guns and drug dealing network operating in Morris and Essex counties.
Over 100 police officers, inclusive of tactical teams armed with arrest and search warrants, arrived at residences in several towns, derailing efforts by gang members and drug distributors to rebuild after previous police raids ruined their business plans in Morris County.
It’s a hit-them-when-they-are-down philosophy. We used a variety of undercover infiltration methods, changing things up like a boxer so they did not become accustomed to our methods of operation.
They tried to resurrect their business after we already hobbled them and now we hit them again, coming in like an aftershock.
Now they are done, out, dismantled.
The takedown Friday led by my office and 17 other federal, county and local law enforcement agencies paved the way for 130 charges filed against 13 individuals. Those charges include a 1 st degree charge of leading a drug trafficking network. In addition we will be lodging additional 1 st degree charges against several of the defendants based on the significant quantity of un-cut cocaine which was seized.
These arrests represent the third phase of an aggressive initiative prescribed in Governor Jon S. Corzine’s Strategy for Safe Streets and Neighborhoods, and at the direction of Attorney General Anne Milgram and Director of Gangs, Guns and Violent Crime Control Strategies Jose Cordero.
By the numbers, these three operations first launched in August have resulted in:
* 32 defendants arrested on 286 charges
The undercover investigation was lead by my office’s Special Enforcement Unit and Intelligence Crime Task Force. They engaged in an intelligence-led strategy that focused on all the facets and functions of a street gang – instead of isolating drug activity from gang activity and arresting numerous minor players after long investigations.
Our goal is to cripple the street gangs’ command structure by taking down leaders and high-ranking associates.
That’s what we are doing.
This is the qualitative result.
In this case, the investigation targeted a network of individuals who were based in the Denville, Dover, Randolph, Rockaway, Victory Gardens and Wharton areas. Armed with solid intelligence from our new intelligence led policing model, the task force unraveled the network by first tracing its roots to a violent crime in Rockaway Borough more than a year ago.
That dispute on October 30, 2007 involved a man flashing a semi-automatic handgun during an argument, and that ultimately led Dover and Rockaway Borough police to Carlos G. Gonzalez, Jr.
Investigators also determined that Carlos G. Gonzalez, Jr. and his father, Carlos Gonzalez, Sr., were both operating competing drug dealing operations, using fear, intimidation and violence with guns as everyday business tactics.
The investigation revealed that this network was responsible for moving multiple kilos of cocaine and significant quantities of heroin.
On Thursday, August 14, 2008 at approximately 11:57 am, while this investigation was ongoing, Dover Police began receiving 911 calls reporting shots fired in the area of Prospect Street in the Town of Dover.
Investigation at the scene of the shooting revealed that 5 shots were discharged from a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun in a “drive-by” type shooting where the discharged shots missed the intended victim. (Luis Vazquez)
Due to the active investigation, members of the joint task force were quickly able to determine that Carlos G. Gonzalez, Jr. was responsible for the attempted murder of another individual (Luis Vazquez) in Dover.
Intelligence determined that a premeditated murder was in the process of being carried out. So we shifted gears and moved to take the operation down, making arrests in Dover, Randolph and Wharton, seizing numerous weapons (firearms) and $250,000 in drugs packaged for distribution and dismantling two major drug enterprises operating throughout Morris County.
That operation was followed by another on Friday, October 17 th, when authorities executed search warrants in Denville, Dover, Victory Gardens, and Wharton, where investigators uncovered a substantial amount of illegal weapons -- assault rifles, weapons with silencers and high powered scopes along with a significant amount of high capacity magazines designed to carry ammunition.
These arrests, again represent the benefits of intelligence/community led policing strategy. We have been able to remove from the streets of Morris County numerous guns, assault firearms, numerous kilos of narcotics and sizable amounts of cash received from illegal activities.
This would have been impossible without the support and guidance of Attorney General Anne Milgram, Director Jose Cordero, in conjunction with the significant assistance of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Denville, Dover, Randolph, and Wharton Police Departments, as well as, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, New Jersey State Police and the Human Services Police Department.
“The citizens of Morris County are safer today as a result of the efforts of these fine law enforcement personnel”.
As it is the position of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, my Administration will not stop here in terms of gaining additional investigative intelligence to attack other criminal enterprises.
And we will aggressively prosecute those who were arrested in these street gang, guns and drug dealing networks.
Attorney General Anne Milgram said "Targeting violent criminals and street gangs is a top priority because the citizens of New Jersey deserve to live in their communities and in their neighborhoods free of the terror of gangs, free of the drug dealing and the gun trafficking. Prosecutor Bianchi has forged a strong partnership among state, federal, county and local law enforcement agencies to move against a major drug trafficking network."
John G. McCabe, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New Jersey Division echoed the Prosecutor’s sentiments. “Just like many global terrorist groups, gangs use drug trafficking as a means to finance their group existence. DEA is working every day with our local law enforcement partners to keep our neighborhoods and communities drug and violent-free,” McCabe said.
“I’d like to give a special thanks to numerous agencies and individuals, starting with Deputy Chief William Schievella, Captain Jeffrey Paul, Sergeant Dan DeGroot and my entire investigative and legal command staff along with the investigative and support staff who allowed for the multi-faceted investigation to lead to one of the most successful conclusions to date in the County of Morris.”
I want to thank my legal team on this case. The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office legal team consisting of First Assistant Prosecutor Thomas A. Zelante, Esq., Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Joseph P. Connor, Jr., Esq., Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Robert Weber, Esq., Assistant Prosecutor Vincent Leo, III Esq., Assistant Prosecutor Bradford Seabury, Esq. provided countless hours and dedication and skill to bring this operation to a successful end.
A special thanks to Attorney General Anne Milgram, Esq., Director Jose Cordero, Dover Chief of Police Harold Valentine, United States Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Gerard P. McAleer, State of New Jersey Department of Human Services Police Deputy Director Donald Haynes. Their support and assistance were crucial to this operation.
I also want to thank Morris County Administrator John Bonanni and the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders some of whom I am honored to have with me here today. Their financial and personal support creates the partnership we need to protect the citizens of Morris County. It is the support from this board that allows us to do initiatives like this one.
I also want to acknowledge the many agencies that partnered with us. Without this support our successful outcome would not be possible.
Task Force Agencies
Division of Criminal Justice
Notwithstanding the 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.