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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
July 20, 2005

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


Capt. Albert Della Fave
ext. 6514
A/Lt. Gerald Lewis

A/Sgt. Stephen Jones
ext. 6513
Tpr II J. Hengemuhle
ext. 6515


"Operation Brickhouse" Demolishes Heroin Ring
Investigative Partnership Exposes Gangs International Ties

Essex County College Police Academy, Cedar Grove - Attorney General Peter Harvey, New Jersey State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes and Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow today announced the arrest of numerous individuals after an extensive investigation dubbed Operation BrickHouse. The operation exposed a direct connection between street-level heroin sales by the Bloods street gang and a Colombian cartel supplier.

The investigation, began in September 2003, resulted in the issuance of arrest warrants for twenty-four individuals located in New Jersey and New York. Operation BrickHouse quickly escalated and identified large-scale heroin distributors operating in the Essex County area. These individuals were responsible for distributing approximately one pound of packaged heroin each week within Newark. This heroin eventually made its way to other locations within New Jersey including New Brunswick, Asbury Park and Paterson.

"We will continue to reclaim our neighborhoods 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 will continue to vigorously investigate, flush out and prosecute this menace in our communities."

"We are less concerned with photo opportunities that show drugs on the table than we are with dismantling criminal enterprises," said Colonel Fuentes. "The success of Operation BrickHouse relied on the time consuming process of building this case from drug runners on the streets to the major decision makers in criminal enterprises."

"This investigation established a nexus between street gangs, street level drug sales and international drug cartels. It is a well-known fact that profits from narcotics sales are key to financing other illegal activities." Fuentes added.

"Since assuming the post of Acting Essex County Prosecutor in 2003, I have targeted gang and drug activity as a priority," said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow. "I remain committed to the dedication of valuable resources to address this burgeoning problem. The residents of the Felix Fuld Houses deserve a decent quality of life and safe place to live."

Working cooperatively with the East Orange and Newark Police Departments, this investigation initially targeted heroin sales by Bloods members Ali McKinnon and Sharif Gillard. McKinnon allegedly controlled heroin distribution in and around the Felix Fuld Public Housing Complex in Newark. The complex, also known as "Little Bricks," is a public housing complex rampant with violence and drug distribution run by members of the Bloods street gang.

Luis Manuel Antonio Estevez of New York was identified as a key supplier, selling large amounts of packaged heroin to dealers in Essex County. This same heroin was eventually sold to Bloods street gang members. Estevez has been arrested by members of the New Jersey State Police Street Gang Bureau and charged with being the leader of a narcotic distribution network, racketeering and conspiracy. He is presently being held in the Essex County Jail in lieu of $2.5 million bail.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was a partner in Operation BrickHouse and is looking into possibly expanding the investigation. These companion investigations identified a large, structured network in which the raw heroin was processed in Colombia, smuggled into the United States, packaged in New York City and made available to gang members in Newark.

The New Jersey State Police would like to acknowledge the other law enforcement agencies that assisted in Operation BrickHouse. These agencies include: The Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Administration, United States Marshal's Service, New Jersey Attorney General's Office, the Division of Criminal Justice, New York City Police Department, Essex County Prosecutor's Office, Newark Police Department, East Orange Police Department and Tinton Falls Police Department.

The following individuals have been have been arrested this morning and charged with racketeering, distribution of heroin and conspiracy:

  • Dwight Sanders, 37 - Orange
  • Kevin Davis, 43 - Newark
  • Rhodesia Mays, 20 - Newark
  • Joyce Green, 55 - Newark
  • Rasuwl Walls, 41 - New Brunswick
  • William Green, 29 - Newark
  • Shawn Johnson, 34 - Newark (arrested 7-19)
  • Steve Sylvester, 21 - Newark
  • Darien Scriven, 39 - Brooklyn
  • Leon Robinson, 26 - Middlesex Boro
  • Henry Ledbetter, 34 - Millville

The following individuals were previously arrested during “Operation BrickHouse”:

  • Marcel Green, 35 - Newark
  • Charles Hill, 55 - Montclair
  • John Best, 61 - Staten Island, NY
  • Kurtis Barnes, 27 - Asbury Park

The following individuals are currently incarcerated and will be served with charges in jail:

  • Ali McKinnon, 36 - Newark
  • Mariole Arzeno, 29 - NY, NY
  • Roderick Mclean, 34 - Irvington
  • Juan Peralta, 26 - NY, NY
  • Luis Manuel Antonio Estevez, 37 - NY, NY


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