Grass isn’t greener: Englewood, NJ business got illegal jump on recreational pot
ENGLEWOOD — Although recreational marijuana was overwhelmingly approved by New Jersey voters in November 2020, the state's marketplace still has not materialized, and the owners of a business that allegedly sold marijuana and THC products at four Garden State locations before such licenses were made available are being charged for trying to get a head (shop) start.
The business, owned and operated by Michael Ligus, 24, of Ringwood, Damian Wesler Sr., 44, of Franklin Lakes, Damian Wesler Jr., 22, of Ringwood, and Anthony Garcia, 44, of Secaucus, was known as "Dirty Jerzy Supplies" and maintained retail stores in Englewood in Bergen County, Butler and Randolph in Morris County, and Scotch Plains in Union County, according to a release from the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office on Sunday.
Ligus, Wesler Sr., Wesler Jr., and Garcia were charged along with Ezekiel Paulino, 25, of Rutherford, an employee of the business.
Undercover BCPO detectives reported being able to purchase the marijuana and THC products from each of the Dirty Jerzy Supplies shops as part of their initial investigation in the summer of 2021.
Then on Friday, according to the release, detectives executed a search warrant on an SUV operated by Ligus and Wesler Sr. from which more than 50 pounds of marijuana were seized, having reportedly been transported to Bergen County from Boston.
Warrants were also served the same day at the Butler, Randolph, and Scotch Plains Dirty Jerzy Supplies locations, as well as a warehouse in Fairfield, Essex County, the residences of Ligus, Wesler Sr., Wesler Jr., and Garcia, and various vehicles.
The BCPO said those searches resulted in the seizure of hundreds more pounds of marijuana, THC edibles and wax/oil, and approximately $305,000.
Ligus, Wesler Sr., Wesler Jr., and Garcia were all arrested without incident and remanded to the Bergen County Jail pending court appearances, while Paulino was booked and released on a summons.