Monmouth Prosecutor's Office Busts Multimillion-Dollar Heroin Ring

Charges brought against 52; Monmouth and Ocean residents among those arrested.

A massive sweep of a multimillion-dollar heroin ring led to charges against 52 people, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni announced during a press conference in Freehold on Monday.

The arrests marked the culmination of an eight-month long investigation, titled Operation Hats Off, which began last spring after the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO) received information regarding gang activity and heroin distribution in the Shore area. Gramiccioni said the prosecutor’s office would continue to aggressively pursue drug distribution in the county.

“This isn’t going to happen in my county. Don’t bring it into Monmouth because we’re going to find you. We have eyes and ears across the county,” Gramiccioni said. “The people that are inclined to commit these crimes should know about it. We’re going to find you, we’re going to arrest you and we’re going to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”

Operation Hats Off targeted members of the Fruit Town Brims, a subset of the Bloods street gang, and their affiliates, who prosecutors allege were responsible for selling approximately 200 bricks of heroin per week. Gramiccioni estimated the street value of the heroin trafficked during the investigation exceeded $2 million.

The 52 individuals arrested included three primary suppliers, who arranged for the purchase and transportation of the heroin out of Essex County. Prosecutors allege the primary suppliers of the heroin were Hassain Jenkins, 39, of Orange; Roger Barber, 40, of Newark; and Louis Pennington, 29, of Long Branch.

Mid-level suppliers, including alleged ringleaders Ronald Daniels Jr., 23, of Long Branch and Anna Flores, 21, of Highlands, conspired to distribute the heroin throughout Monmouth and Ocean counties, according to Gramiccioni.

Other alleged mid-level suppliers include: Christopher Moon, 21, of Highlands; Ezra Strong, 22, of Long Branch; Donte Gilliard, 22, of Long Branch; Dashawn Graves, 20, of Newark; Damier Johnson, 22, of Long Branch; and Hakeem Wadud, 22, of Paterson.

The remainder of those charged were allegedly repeat buyers, Gramiccioni said. These buyers included residents of Atlantic Highlands, Bayville, Eatontown, Little Silver, Long Branch, Neptune, Oceanport, Red Bank, Rumson, Sea Bright and West Long Branch.

“Heroin is pervasive throughout all walks of society. It doesn’t discriminate with regard to age, sex, race or ethnicity, or anyone’s level of affluence or socioeconomic status. It’s poisoning our communities,” Gramiccioni said.

MCPO Chief of Detectives Michael Pasterchick noted that the purity of heroin sold in New Jersey makes it especially addictive.

“We all know that this drug enslaves its users. Of those who become addicted to heroin, only 20 percent will go on to lead productive lives,” Pasterchick said. “We need to get this message out about the perils of heroin abuse.”

Weapons, Heroin Seized

During the course of the investigation, officers seized significant amounts of heroin, cash and firearms.

On Monday, Nov. 19, law enforcement officers recovered approximately 100 bricks of heroin from an automobile in Eatontown during a routine vehicle stop, according to a press release issued by the MCPO.

On Thursday, Dec. 13, law enforcement officers stopped Jenkins and Barber on the eastbound side of Route 36 in Tinton Falls.  During that stop, officers recovered two packages, each containing 100 bricks of heroin. Jenkins and Barber were charged with narcotics-related offenses and remain incarcerated at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) in lieu of bail.

Officers raided an Atlantic Avenue apartment in Long Branch on Thursday, Dec. 13. While executing the search warrant, officers recovered 130 bricks of heroin valued at $130,000, as well as $10,000 cash, according to the press release. Three individuals at the residence - Michael Marshall, 62 of Long Branch; Tau Kamau, a.k. “Kevin Smith,” 40, of Long Branch; and Ronald Daniels, Sr., 42, of Long Branch – were charged with narcotics-related offenses and also remain incarcerated at MCCI. 

Searches simultaneously executed on Monday at residences located at Rustic Drive in Ocean Township and Fourth Street in Highlands resulted in the seizure of additional quantities of narcotics, firearms and cash.

Of the 52 individuals charged (please see full list of names on attached documents), 41 have been arrested and 11 remain at large.

Locked up n they won't let me out lmao akon December 20, 2012 at 05:08 AM
This is why u need education children cause idiots always gets caught ... Bragg about that tax free money now when u sit in jail n have to pay your bail ... It's always cool to act invinsible a tough n off a rap video when u have guns n destroying other people's lives but there's someone always above you so your not invinsible your not a boss if you have to look back to make sure noones watching .... Again the law enforcement did a fine job n hope repeat buyers n sellers with guns n harming the public n my own families life's either being high or shooting a stray bullet enjoy Christmas behind bars n snitches get stitches lol merry Christmas delinquents
Get Real December 20, 2012 at 05:27 PM
i agree with you when it comes to the buyers. Some of the buyers have been in trouble with the law and have gone to rehab before. (prob just to avoid jail time).
Kurt December 22, 2012 at 08:06 AM
Like sweeping up the trash. Hey more brothers off the street. Those top and mid levels have a common aspect and it isn't wanted or needed American citizens that we need or want around. Load them up into their holding cells and let the population take care of them so we can stop wasting tax money feeding them food and air.
Xavier December 27, 2012 at 08:56 PM
"Publishing photos and addresses(!) of people who are innocent until proven guilty of first offences that are normally plea bargained down to misdemeanors?" Yes. Totally legal.
HavinFun March 16, 2013 at 01:28 PM
It sounds like none of y'all have know Wat its like ur lucky n that's awesome that yal e clean but its not always black n white with the buyers anymore,I agree put away the sellers they have to go!¡!¡! For our kids to b safe n grow up having fun playing sports n having fun wit friends not selling n buying drugs,it seems like that's all that's goin on anymore


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