Eight People Charged In Takedown Of Camden Drug Trafficking Organization
CAMDEN, N.J. - Federal and local law enforcement authorities arrested eight people this week for their alleged roles in a drug trafficking organization that distributed cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin in Camden, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
John Gunther, 34, of Blackwood, New Jersey, George Williams, 42 of Oaklyn, New Jersey, Taleaf Gunther, 31, William Roland, 35, Daron Suiter, 23, Karim Johnson, 38, Latoya Whealton, 32, and Rajai Gaines, 33, all of Camden, are charged by complaint with one count of drug trafficking conspiracy.
Taleaf Gunther, Williams, Whealton, Suiter, and Johnson were arrested June 14, 2017. John Gunther, Roland, and Gaines were arrested June 13, 2017. All eight defendants appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider in Camden federal court on their respective arrest dates – except for Taleaf Gunther who appeared today – and were detained.
According to the complaints:
The defendants are members of a drug trafficking organization that dealt cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin in and around Camden, with criminal activities concentrated on the 1700 block of Filmore Street. The organization also supplied drugs to customers and other distributors elsewhere.
John Gunther and Taleaf Gunther, the alleged leaders and managers of the operation, obtained bulk supplies of narcotics, prepared and packaged those controlled substances for street level sale, provided crack cocaine and heroin to other members for resale to customers, collected drug proceeds, and oversaw the daily sales and operation of the organization. Other members of the organization – including Roland, Suiter, Johnson, and Whealton – assisted in the preparation, distribution, and sale of the drugs. Williams allegedly supplied the organization with heroin. Gaines allegedly assisted with the preparation of drugs for resale.
An investigation led by the FBI used surveillance, confidential informants, cooperating witnesses, more than 20 controlled drug purchases, record checks, a GPS vehicle tracker, and multiple telephone wiretaps to uncover the operations of the drug trafficking organization.
The drug trafficking conspiracy count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine.
Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI’s South Jersey Violent Offender and Gang Task Force, South Jersey Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Harpster; the Camden County Police Department, under the direction of Chief J. Scott Thomson; the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo; the Camden County Sherriff’s Department under the direction of Sherriff Gilbert Wilson; the Cherry Hill Police Department, under the direction of William Monaghan; and the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Col. Rick Fuentes, with the investigation leading to the charges.
He also thanked the Gloucester Township Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gabriel J. Vidoni and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin M. Fay of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Camden.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaints are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.