April 23, 2014 at 12:19 PM
WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield Police Department contributed manpower to an operation that saw 20 members of an alleged major drug ring arrested from late Friday into Monday, according to Westfield Police Chief David Wayman and the Union County Prosecutor’s office. In addition to the arrests, significant quantities of cash and multiple types of drugs were seized as the result of a nearly year-long investigation into a multi-tiered narcotics distribution ring operating throughout parts of North Jersey, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park and Linden Police Chief James Schulhafer announced Tuesday.
Seized at the various locations (none of which were in Westfield), including sales sites and stash houses, were approximately $116,500 in cash, plus approximately 4.5 kilograms of MDMA (or “molly”), 60 grams of crack cocaine, 140 grams of cocaine, 140 grams of heroin, 14,000 counterfeit Viagra pills and more than 100 bottles containing a cumulative total of more than 10,000 units of various prescription pills, according to the prosecutor’s office.
“Not only did this mark the largest seizure of prescription pills in Union County Prosecutor’s Office history, but it also eclipsed the cumulative total of the number of pills processed at the Union County Forensic Laboratory from 2011 through 2013,” the prosecutor’s office stated in a press release.
Altogether the drugs had a combined estimated street value of more than $525,000, and during the execution of the search warrants, two handguns and four vehicles were also seized, the prosecutor’s office said.
From April 18 through April 21, SWAT teams and other law-enforcement representatives from more than a dozen jurisdictions executed search warrants and made arrests at about a dozen places, including properties Linden, Rahway, Elizabeth, Bloomfield and Newark.
The investigation earlier had revealed that a location in Linden on Grier Avenue location housed a fully functional heroin mill; the building was fortified with thick planks of wood mounted on the insides of doors and a comprehensive surveillance system, according to the prosecutor’s office. Similar video surveillance systems were also in place at a Bloomfield location and an apartment on West Grand Street in Elizabeth, where “customers” would frequently walk to the rear of the building to make purchases of multiple types of drugs in the building’s attic.