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Over 30 Arrested in Heroin and Gun Trafficking Sweep

NEWARK, N.J. – Brian R. Crowell, the Special Agent in Charge of the New Jersey Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Peter E. Warshaw , the Prosecutor for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, announced the arrests of numerous members of a racketeering network responsible for the distribution of significant quantities of heroin and the illegal sale of assault firearms in and around the Monmouth County area. The arrests occurred between July1, 2011 and August 3, 2011, with most occurring this week.

The investigation began in the fall of 2010 when members of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office received information regarding a narcotics distribution and firearms trafficking network based in Long Branch. As the investigation proceeded, the leader of this network was identified as Anthony Stevenson, aka “Nygee,” 43, of Long Branch.

During the eight-month investigation that followed, Stevenson orchestrated and/or personally sold quantities of heroin to an undercover officer on several occasions. As a result, more than 38 “bricks” of heroin were purchased from Stevenson and his associates. A “brick” contains approximately 50 glassine baggies of heroin, which are bundled in groups of ten. On certain occasions, Stevenson also distributed quantities of cocaine as requested by his associates.

The investigation also revealed that Stevenson obtained most of the heroin he sold from Uwenzen Jenkins, 39, of West Orange. On July 1, 2011, surveillance officers observed Jenkins meet with two of Stevenson’s associates, Dario Woods, 32, of Asbury Park and Keith Rogers, 40, of Asbury Park, to purchase heroin on behalf of Stevenson. After this meeting, Woods and Rogers were found to be in possession of approximately 40 bricks of heroin during a motor vehicle stop in Tinton Falls and were taken into custody.

In addition to narcotics trafficking, the investigation revealed that Stevenson brokered the transport and sale of illegal firearms brought into New Jersey by Amos Castro, 39, formerly of Long Branch, who currently resides in South Carolina, and Leroy Taylor, 40, of North Carolina. During the course of the investigation, on April 11, 2011, Castro sold a handgun to an undercover officer in Christabell’s American Soul Food Restaurant, on Springdale Avenue in Long Branch, a restaurant owned by Stevenson. On July 21, 2011, Stevenson sold two assault rifles, obtained from Leroy Taylor, to an undercover officer in the parking lot of a West Long Branch gas station. Castro and Taylor were arrested on August 3, 2011 – Castro in New Jersey and Taylor in North Carolina. Taylor remains in North Carolina and is pending extradition proceedings.

On August 1, 2011, surveillance officers observed Jenkins sell a quantity of heroin to Stevenson and one of his associates, Kenrick Crawford, 43, of Asbury Park. Stevenson and Crawford were later arrested following a motor vehicle stop in Tinton Falls and were found to be in possession of approximately 50 bricks of heroin.

On that same date, a lawful search was conducted at Christabell’s restaurant in Long Branch. Police seized two bricks of heroin from inside the restaurant. Present in the business at the time were Andrew Davis, 46, of Long Branch, Francisco Gomez, 23, of Long Branch, Deborah Howard, 40, of Asbury Park and her daughter, Jessica Howard, 22, of Long Branch. Davis was charged with Possession of Cocaine. Deborah and Jessica Howard and Francisco Gomez were charged with Possession and Possession with Intent to Distribute Heroin. Deborah was later charged with Racketeering Conspiracy on August 3, 2011.

The charges allege that Stevenson and his co-conspirators are members of a hierarchal criminal enterprise whose members have specific roles that were determined by Stevenson. Additional individuals involved in the enterprise were arrested on Wednesday, August 3, 2011. Their roles, charges and respective bails are described more fully in the attached chart and listed as follows: Anthony Stevenson, is the alleged Leader of this criminal enterprise; Stevenson’s primary heroin supplier is alleged to be Uwenzen Jenkins; Dario Woods, Keith Rogers and Malik Williams are alleged to be three of Stevenson’s key associates.

Walter Taylor III, Kevin Foye and Trevor Stovall were arrested on August 2, 2011, and are alleged to be drug suppliers to Stevenson. Taylor was found to be in possession of 20 bricks of heroin at the time of his arrest.

The following individuals were arrested on August 3, 2011, and are alleged to be midlevel heroin dealers who purchased various quantities of heroin from Stevenson for distribution to their own respective customer bases: Russell Vann, John M. Cooper, Robert Gilliard, James Soweski, Derrick Alberts, Nelson Alberts, Paul Brown, Guillermo Reyes, James Williams, Raymond Jackson, Emanuel Jones, Gregory Glover, Charles Dixon, Robert Jones, Douglas Gibson, Sr., Vanessa Evans, Ryan Fitch and Joseph Aviles.

The following individuals were also arrested on August 3, 2011, and are alleged to be “runners” who distributed quantities of heroin under Stevenson’s supervision and at his direction: Christopher Brock and Rozina McCullers.

Additionally, Latief Forbes, Patrick Brock, Joseph Stovall, Leon Norman and Patrick Norman, Jr., were arrested on August 3, 2011, and charged with various possession and possession with intent type offenses.

The following individuals remained at large as of August 4, 2011: Keith Rogers, Raymond Pridgen, Steven Worsley, Paul Brown, Patrick Norman, Sr. and Willie Starks.

All of those arrested were remanded to the Monmouth County Correctional Institute in lieu of bail, which was set by the Honorable Lawrence M. Lawson, A.J.S.C. All bails require a hearing to determine the source of the funds being posted before they can be accepted.

During the course of this investigation, over 150 bricks (in excess of 7,500 separate glassine bags) of heroin, approximately one pound of marijuana, a small quantity of cocaine and approximately $72,000 in U.S. currency were seized. The heroin alone has an estimated street value of approximately $75,000.

Notwithstanding these arrests, the investigation into the activities of this criminal enterprise is continuing. Members of the public possessing information regarding criminal activity by any of the individuals arrested are encouraged to contact Captain Brian Rubino of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office at 1 (800) 848-0668. Photographs of the individuals arrested are attached to this news release to assist members of the public in ascertaining whether they possess information regarding these individuals’ activities.

The charge of first degree leader of narcotics trafficking carries a maximum custodial term of life in state prison. For those defendants charged with first degree maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility and/or possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute and/or first degree distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, the maximum custodial term is 20 years in state prison. For those defendants charged with second degree racketeering conspiracy, the maximum custodial term is 10 years in state prison. For those defendants charged with second degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute and/or second degree distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, the maximum custodial term is 10 years in state prison. For those defendants charged with third degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance and/or third degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute and/or third degree distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, the maximum custodial term is five years in state prison. The charge of third degree aggravated assault carries a maximum custodial term of five years in state prison.

For those defendants charged with second degree unlawful possession of an assault firearm and/or second degree transporting firearms into state for unlawful sale and/or second degree certain persons not to have weapons, the maximum custodial term is 10 years in state prison. For those defendants charged with third degree distribution of an assault firearm, the maximum custodial term is five years in state prison.

Despite these charges 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 rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and State law.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office credits all of the law enforcement agencies that assisted in this investigation, including the following: Asbury Park Police Department, Freehold Township Police Department, Keansburg Police Department, Long Branch Police Department, Neptune Township Police Department, Ocean Township Police Department, Red Bank Police Department, Shrewsbury Police Department, Tinton Falls Police Department, Wall Township Police Department, Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office, New Jersey State Police, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Marshal’s Service.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor James E. Jones, Jr., Director of the Narcotics and Criminal Enterprises Unit, and Assistant Prosecutor Paul Alexander.

Click Here to View Photographs of Arrested Individuals



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