Twelve members of a drug trafficking organization in Newark, between the ages of 21 and 51, including a Hispanic man, were charged Wednesday for allegedly distributing and selling heroin, fentaline and crack at the Rotunda Recreation and Wellness children’s recreation center Center.
In addition, they were also charged for the alleged use of firearms to protect the illegal business.
The arrests are made thanks to a lengthy investigation that involved telephone conversations of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Authorities reported that six other suspects had previously been arrested.
“While children from the neighborhood came to play basketball and chess, it is possible that they were a few meters away from the drug and the criminals who sold it,” said prosecutor Craig Carpenito.
“Taking the people who led this operation off the street is a priority for law enforcement, and along with the DEA, the Newark Police, the state of New Jersey, and many others, we are doing it,” he added.
Two of the defendants, Edward Williams, 51, and Wali Duncan, 37, were the alleged leaders of the drug trafficking network. Both were also members of the Bloods gang.
Apparently, Williams and two other defendants, Arthur Hardy, 41, and Rahim Jackson, 43, were employees of the children’s center located on Clinton Avenue.
The danger of drugs in the United States
During the operation, Jackson and Hardy allegedly delivered the drugs to the alleged leaders.
For his part, the mayor of the city, Ras Baraka, said that the agents of the investigation made a mistake and clarified that Hardy was not the director of the place, as initially reported.
The official also said that the three employees worked since January in the center, but only part time. It is for this reason a verification of his criminal record was not made, which would have revealed his record.
According to the authorities, at least one of them remains a fugitive from justice. If found guilty, they would face sentences of up to life imprisonment.
Source: Telemundo 47