31 charged in Somerset County, NJ narcotics ring, four still at large
SOMERVILLE — The Somerset County Prosecutor's Office (SPCO) has announced a series of arrests in a drug ring that allegedly operated in that county as well as Middlesex and Union counties, and said four of the people charged are still wanted by authorities.
"Operation Triple Tragedy," according to an SCPO release, is the result of a five-month investigation headlined by the arrests in early June of six individuals charged in connection with distribution of cocaine: Joselin Castillo, a.k.a. "Tragedy," 30, of Edison; Jonatan Gonzalez-Duran, a.k.a. "JB," 28, of Plainfield; Joey Flores, 30, of Plainfield; Anne Crowton, 29, of Roselle Park; Katherin Ceballos, 22, of Edison; and Jennifer Rodriguez-Leonardo, 21, of Plainfield.
Castillo, identified along with Gonzalez-Duran and Flores as purported leaders of a narcotics network, faces 11 different charges, including the first-degree offenses of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, leading a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) trafficking network and maintaining a CDS production facility.
Crowton, Ceballos and Rodriguez-Leonardo stand accused as Castillo's co-conspirators.
Arrested later in June were another 21 people, all charged with third-degree conspiracy and attempt to possess a controlled dangerous substance:
- Mohammed Adwan, 54, of South Plainfield
- Kyle Battle, 31, of Plainfield
- Dave Choppay Jr., 55, of Hillsborough
- Jose Concepcion Jr., 47, of North Plainfield
- Andrew Della-Ventura, 63, of Dunellen
- Joseph Gonzalez, 43, of Plainfield
- Heather Hein, 51, of Lebanon
- Darguin Linares, 50, of Somerville
- Mahmoud Mansy, 61, of Dunellen
- Juan Menjivar-Rivera, 43, of Plainfield
- Charles Norway, 63, of Manville
- Maryann Norway, 61, of South Plainfield
- Tracey Pearson, 60, of Hillsborough
- Julio Perdomo, 30, of Plainfield
- Kenneth Samuels, 59, of Plainfield
- Michael Wade-Saunders, 54, of Piscataway
- Hatem Shata, 55, of New Providence
- Major Smith, 67, of Plainfield
- Scott Taylor, 60, of Plainfield
- Alfredo Vargas-Gonzalez, 50, of Plainfield
- Saleem White, 35, of Piscataway
Also charged with conspiracy and attempt to possess CDS, but still at large, are Francisco Fordham, 59, of Piscataway; Miguel Garcia, 40, of Plainfield; Devin Jones, 45, of Plainfield; and Victor Tejada-Urena, 42, of Plainfield.
Warrants obtained for the search of the residences of Castillo, Gonzalez-Duran and Crowton yielded a total seizure of 6.5 kilograms of cocaine, a 9mm handgun and AR-15 rifle, each with a 30-round extended magazine, $193,536.25 in cash and various drug paraphernalia, according to the SCPO.
The cocaine has an estimated street value of $559,000.
Anyone with further information about this operation, or the whereabouts of the four wanted individuals, is urged to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor's Office at 908-231-7100, the county Crime Stoppers' tip line at 888-577-TIPS or the STOPit app.