Massive 7-county drug ring destroyed, 28 arrested, 90K doses of heroin seized

Massive 7-county drug ring destroyed, 28 arrested, 90K doses of heroin seized
NJ drug bust: Biggest drug ring in Ocean County history shut down
Dozens of law enforcement agencies collaborated on Operation Heading Back, which resulted in 31 arrests.

TOMS RIVER – Congressman MacArthur released the following statement on Friday afternoon:

Coronato said the case began with a street-level drug transaction in Lakewood, New Jersey. Officers were conducting surveillance in the area and began the process of arresting dealers and following the chain of distribution, which led them to narcotics activity in Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic and Union counties; New York City, and a foreign country investigators wouldnt identify.

I want to commend the law enforcement officers who made “Operation Heading Back” a tremendous success we should all be proud of. If it weren’t for the excellent multi-jurisdictional efforts, these illegal drugs, weapons, and criminals would have poured into our communities and destroyed people’s lives and their families. As Prosecutor Coronato pointed out, Ocean County’s acceptance into the US Drug Enforcement High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Northern Group, was a crucial element of this operation’s success. Ocean County’s HIDTA designation was the result of bipartisan efforts that brought additional resources and collaboration across all levels of law enforcement, making our neighborhoods safer and getting drugs and illegal weapons off of our streets. Congratulations to Prosecutor Coronato and everyone who worked on “Operation Heading Back”. Their efforts saved lives and I remain grateful for all they do on a daily basis to protect our community.

Authorities in Ocean County say 31 people have been charged as part of the rings that dealt opioids and other drugs throughout New Jersey, in the Bronx, New York, and operated in at least one other country.

According to a press release from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato stated, “Our acceptance into the US Drug Enforcement High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Northern Group last year has increased tenfold our scope and ability to conduct investigations limiting the import of illegal narcotics into Ocean County and beyond.  Today marks the disclosure of the first of many significant future narcotic operations, adding to our already robust enforcement of our drug laws and the drug induced death strict liability statute.  We’re sending a clear message to drug dealers that Ocean County is not fertile ground for their enterprise.” 

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said authorities broke up nine drug production facilities, seized 90,000 doses of heroin, nearly 20 pounds of cocaine and hundreds of prescription opioid pills.

Coronato continued, “I cannot thank Senator Cory A. Booker, Congressman Thomas Macarthur and Congressman Christopher Smith enough for helping us gain this critical HIDTA designation in our struggle to close Ocean County borders to drug dealers.  I extend the highest praise to my Special Operations Group, as well as every member of the operation.  The courage and resourcefulness they displayed in working to identify and arrest those charged is truly an outstanding testament to their dedication and commitment to protect our citizens.”     

Posted in Jersey City