Mom passed heroin ring to son — and is on the run, cops say
FREEHOLD — A New Jersey mother retired from the drug-pushing business and passed down to her son a large-scale heroin distribution ring that's now been dismantled, according to Monmouth County officials.
A 16-month investigation dubbed "Operation Finished Business" culminated with charges against 32 people connected to the drug ring in the county's Bayshore region, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni announced Monday morning.
Four of those individuals, including the alleged creator of the organization, remain at large.
Fentanyl-laced heroin was sold by members of the heroin trafficking network on a daily basis to members of the public, the prosecutor's office said. The operation purportedly pumped out 20,000 bags of heroin per month, with a street value ranging up to $400,000.
Searches related to the operation also resulted in the seizure of 3,200 bags of heroin and approximately $12,000 cash, as well as vehicles used as "hiding places" for narcotics.
"This is one of the largest drug trafficking organizations that operated in the Bayshore," Gramiccioni said. "Our intelligence indicates that they've been operating since roughly 2013."
Anthony Distaulo, 33, of Jackson, is charged as the leader of the network. Eight others, the prosecutor's office said, acted as accomplices to distribute narcotics throughout Keansburg, Keyport, Hazlet, Holmdel, Atlantic Highlands, Union Beach and other municipalities.
"This has made a significant impact on the heroin trade in the Bayshore," said Union Beach Police Chief Michael Woodrow.
In the two-square-mile borough, Woodrow said, his department deals with heroin addicts daily.
According to the prosecutor's office, Distaulo's mother, Mechelle Distaulo, originally created and ran the organization, then "retired" from the business and moved to the Florida area, leaving the business in her son's hands. She continued to receive "kickbacks" of $500 per day, Gramiccioni said.
"She's at large and we're working on trying to identify and arrest her, with partners down there in law enforcement," Gramiccioni said.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at email@example.com.