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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
January 18, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
New Jersey State Police
- Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent

 

609-882-2000
Capt. Al Della Fave
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Lt. Kevin Rehmann
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SFC Gerald Lewis
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A/Sgt. Stephen Jones
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Essex Anti-Crime Partnership Crushes Irvington Drug Ring

Investigative Teamwork Uncovers Suburban Link


Irvington, Essex County - Attorney General Peter Harvey, Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow, State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes, Director of Criminal Justice Vaughn McKoy, Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, and the members of the Essex Anti-Crime Partnership announced that Phase II of “Operation Out-of-Towners” was concluded with the arrest of 18 persons for narcotics offenses based upon the issuance of 18 arrest warrants by the Superior Court. The suspects reside in six different New Jersey counties. The arrests culminate a two-pronged investigation conducted by numerous law enforcement agencies. Ten handguns were also recovered.

“We have returned to Irvington to arrest criminals who seek to erode the safety and quality of life in this important community. We will continue to reclaim the streets from drug dealers, gang members and others who threaten ordinary citizens,” said Attorney General Harvey. “We are committed to taking back the community from criminals and we’re keeping our promise. We will continue to vigorously investigate, flush out and prosecute this menace of our communities.”

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Paula T. Dow said, “This office remains committed to quality of life issues in Essex County. I am confident that the arrests today will send a message statewide that Essex County will not be seen as a safe haven for illicit drug sales. This office will prosecute vigorously not only the narcotics dealers and suppliers, but also their customers regardless of their residence or background.”

“The success of this operation illustrates the results of effective and cooperative law enforcement partnerships. The sharing of resources and intelligence through our Statewide Intelligence Management System is the cornerstone of our enforcement strategy,” said Colonel Fuentes.

At a Town-Hall Meeting in Irvington on August 26th, 2004, State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes instructed the members of the Essex County Anti-Crime Partnership (E.A.C.P.) to convey a message to the criminal element within the township of Irvington. The Essex Anti-Crime Partnership will aggressively combat illegal activity in the township of Irvington involving organized criminal groups, including street gangs and narcotics trafficking networks.

Enforcement efforts would not be limited to the boundaries of Irvington. In fact, investigations would be conducted within and outside the State of New Jersey with a strong emphasis being put on a cooperative effort between state, local, and county law enforcement agencies.

As a result, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and the New Jersey State Police launched an extensive investigation into a criminal enterprise that included narcotics trafficking, illegal sale of weapons and threats of violence including a proposed “hit” on one of the group’s rivals. The drug operation, based in Irvington and surrounding municipalities within the Essex County area, provided a steady flow of narcotics/weapons including cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, prescription legend drugs, and semi-automatic handguns to a suburban clientele within the six counties (Passaic, Morris, Essex, Union, Hudson, and Middlesex). The network also serviced an urban clientele with ties to street drug sales.

The drug ring, controlled by Rodney J. Coleman, 42, of Irvington, also conducted illicit activities in concert with a New York City narcotics trafficking source, which supplied large quantities of narcotics on a weekly basis.

As the investigation unfolded, Phase I of “Operation Out-of-Towners” was executed on December 30th, 2004, which resulted in the following:

  • The prevention the of a planned “hit” (homicide) of a drug ring rival
  • The arrest of thirteen (13) individuals
  • Recovery of three (3) kilos of cocaine with a street value of $225,000.00
  • Recovery of four (4) handguns
  • Recovery of one (1) bulletproof vest
  • Seizure of four (4) motor vehicles valued at $50,000.00
  • Confiscation of $20,200.00 in U.S. Currency
  • Preparation and execution of six (6) court authorized search warrants
  • Seizure of two (2) computers utilized in identify theft and narcotics trafficking
  • Seizure of one (1) safety deposit box
  • Seizure of bank account(s) valued at approximately $15,000.00

The Essex Anti-Crime Partnership is comprised of the following agencies: New Jersey
State Police, New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey Department of Corrections, New Jersey State Department of Parole, Irvington Police Department, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Essex County Sheriff’s Office, Juvenile Justice Commission.

The agencies that participated in this cooperative investigation included:

  • New Jersey State Police Newark Police Department
  • Division of Criminal Justice Essex County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Essex County Sheriff’s Department Irvington Police Department
  • Union County Prosecutor’s Office Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
  • New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission West Caldwell Police Department
  • Boonton Police Department New York City Police Department
  • Jefferson Police Department New York Parole Department
  • Maplewood Police Department New Jersey Department of Parole
  • Orange Police Department New Jersey Department Corrections
  • Roseland Police Department Caldwell Police Department
  • Parsippany Police Department

The following individuals have been have been arrested and charged with second degree conspiracy to violate the narcotics laws in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-1, et seq. and 2C:5-2:

  • Cosmo Mezzina, 41, Weehawken
  • Stephen Gildea, 40, West Caldwell
  • Charles Battaglia, 39, Towaco
  • Kimberly Makay, 38, Boonton
  • Richard Coviello, 45, West Caldwell
  • Terri Ameer, 47, Woodbridge
  • Louis Comasta, 41, Towaco
  • Marvin Walker, 33, West Orange
  • Christopher Morris, 28, Union
  • Johnathan Sek, 35, North Caldwell
  • Joseph J. Michael, 37, Union
  • Phillip DeBruno, 42, Oak Ridge
  • Michael Hahne, 26, Boonton
  • Robert J. Provenzano, 38, Roselle Park
  • Keith Pole, 53, Ridgefield Park
  • Richard Buzelli, 32, Cedar Grove
  • Donald Scott, 35, Irvington

Essex Anti-Crime Partnership Statistics since inception (August 2003):

  • Arrests: 1,540 Currency Seized: $142,673.00
  • Firearms Recovered: 98 Charges: 6,688
  • M.V. Summonses Issued: 1,495 Fugitive Arrests: 599
  • Vehicles Impounded: 291 Municipal Ordinance Violations: 75

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