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Operation Gravedigger Busts 8 in NJ Gun Trafficking Ring

Operation Grave Digger Mugshots
Operation Grave Digger Mugshots. From top left to right: Barnes, Blackstone, Gonzalez, Harris. From bottom left to right: Jefferson, Jordan, Kearse and Nance (NJ State Police)

It began in March 2012 and targeted illegal firearm sales in Trenton.  As a result, the New Jersey State Police Weapons Trafficking Unit in conjunction with the Trenton Police Department arrested eight people on gun related charges during an investigation dubbed “Operation Gravedigger.”

Detectives seized 16 guns including five assault rifles, five handguns, three shotguns and three rifles.  One of the assault rifles included a 90 round drum magazine.  All of the weapons were loaded or included ammunition.

All of the suspects involved in the operation sold one or more guns to an undercover detective or operative.  The transactions took place on Hamilton Avenue in Trenton, near two local funeral homes, which is why it was called “Operation Gravedigger.”  The gun sellers operated independently.

“These individual allegedly were trafficking guns to anyone willing to pay their price and they evidently didn’t care what violence would be inflicted with their deadly wares,” said Attorney General Jeff Chiesa.  “Through cooperative investigations spearheaded by the State Police and involving strong partners like the Trenton Police Department, we’re stepping up our efforts to halt the proliferation of guns and gun violence in urban communities throughout New Jersey.”

“Those willing to illegally transfer guns to criminals share the responsibility with those who pull the trigger when those guns are used to shoot people,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the State Police.  “The arrests made as a result of the cooperative investigation reaffirm the commitment of the State Police and the Trenton Police Department to remove illegal firearms from the streets.”

The following individuals have been arrested on a variety of weapons charges and are being held at the Mercer County Jail with $100,000 cash bail:

  • Tyron Jordan, 25, Trenton, NJ
  • Maurice Blackstone, 21, Trenton, NJ
  • Keon Jefferson, 29, Trenton, NJ
  • Shaquille Nance, 19, Trenton, NJ
  • Jameel Harris, 31, Trenton, NJ
  • Sam Gonzalez, 23, Trenton, NJ
  • Michael Barnes, 25, Trenton, NJ
  • Robert Kearse, 27, Trenton, NJ


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