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Sunday, 1 February 2009

Bloods set called Sex Money Murder raided in Essex County this week netted 20 alleged gang members who are part of a drug trafficing net

01:00 |

Raids in Essex County this week netted 20 alleged gang members and their associates who are part of a sophisticated narcotics ring, authorities said.In the latest busts yesterday morning in Newark, law enforcement officials detained five people who were part of an elaborate operation that sold about 100 bricks of heroin and several hundred grams of cocaine per week to gang members in Newark, Orange, South Orange, Irvington and Elizabeth, said Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow.The drug raids, named "Operation Trifecta," began Sunday by targeting upper-level dealers in Orange, Irvington, Elizabeth and Newark. Yesterday's bust focused on Newark apartment buildings on Spruce Street, Johnson Avenue, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the Hood Barbershop on Washington Avenue, which served as a central hub for the drug ring, according to Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Fennelly.A worker at the barbershop said yesterday there were no drug dealers at the location and declined to talk further.Of those arrested, 16 are men and four are women, according to a list provided by Dow. All of them are accused of having ties or being members of a Bloods set called Sex Money Murder, Dow said.
In all, 17 of them are Newark residents. The rest are from Orange, Irvington and Elizabeth. Most of them have been charged with possessing and distributing drugs and with conspiracy.
During the investigation, officials focused on "the main players of this drug ring": Newark residents Terrell Horton, 34; Tirik Jackson, 36; Stephon Johnson, 35; and Jamal Wiley, 34, said Paul Loriquet, spokesman for the Essex County Prosecutor's Office. The investigation, which started in August, initially focused on three of these men - which led to the name "Operation Trifecta."
"We believe these are the worst of the worst," Dow said in a news conference attended by state Attorney General Anne Milgram; Jose Cordero, the state director of gangs, guns and violent crime control strategies; representatives from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and members of the Newark, Orange, South Orange, and Maplewood police departments.
During the raids, officials also confiscated three loaded semiautomatic handguns, more than a pound of cocaine and 100 grams of heroin, Loriquet said. In addition, authorities seized three vehicles and about $50,000 in cash.
The drug raids are part of the Governor's Strategy for Safe Streets and Neighborhoods initiative that started in April. In Essex County, more than 100 suspected gang members and associates were arrested as part of the program, Loriquet said. Authorities also confiscated about 13 pounds of heroin, 2.2 pounds of cocaine, 12 loaded handguns, and six vehicles.After the anti-crime plan began last summer, 1,844 people arrested in the operations have been charged with crimes including murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and drug trafficking. Prosecutors from 19 of the 21 counties, working with State Police, seized 162 guns, including 22 assault weapons.

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