TRENTON – Attorney General Paula T. Dow and Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor announced that the Division of Criminal Justice today obtained an indictment charging six alleged members of a cocaine distribution network in South Jersey, including a Collingswood man who allegedly headed the ring and sold two guns to an undercover detective.
The charges stem from Operation White Cloud, a cooperative investigation conducted by the FBI/South Jersey Violent Offenders Gang Task Force, New Jersey State Police, Division of Criminal Justice, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Voorhees Township Police, Haddon Township Police, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, Maple Shade Police Department and Collingswood Police Department. It focused on the alleged cocaine distribution ring of Nicholas C. Stens, 25, of Collingswood.
According to Director Taylor, the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau obtained an 11-count state grand jury indictment charging Stens and the following five defendants with second-degree conspiracy to distribute cocaine:
- Roberto L. Ortiz, 26, of Haddon Township;
- Joseph P. Hackney, 29, of Westmont;
- Dominick M. Leonetti Jr., 48, of Maple Shade:
- Robert A. Schafer, 25, of Maple Shade; and
- Eugene “Rick” Wilson, 43, of National Park, N.J.
Stens faces numerous other charges in the indictment, including gun offenses and first-degree drug offenses. It is alleged that in January 2011, Stens sold a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun and ammunition for $800 to an undercover Voorhees Township police officer. Later, the same officer allegedly purchased distribution quantities of cocaine and a 12-guage shotgun from Stens. A total of 22 ounces of cocaine valued at over $20,000, $15,000 in cash and a vehicle were seized during the course of the investigation.
“We have indicted the alleged head of this drug ring on charges that he not only sold large quantities of cocaine in South Jersey, but also illegally sold guns,” said Attorney General Dow. “He faces first-degree narcotics charges, as well as serious weapons charges.”
“This is a good example of a coordinated, multi-agency investigation that targeted drug and gun trafficking,” said Director Taylor. “We will continue to partner with law enforcement agencies at all levels to combat these twin threats to the public.”
Deputy Attorney General Julia S. Glass presented the case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. The lead detective for Operation White Cloud was Detective Keith Moyer of the New Jersey State Police Street Gangs South Unit. He is a member of the FBI/South Jersey Violent Offenders Gang Task Force.
In addition to the second-degree conspiracy charge, the indictment charges Stens with two counts of distribution of cocaine (1st degree), possession of cocaine with intent to distribute (1st degree), two counts of distribution of cocaine within 500 feet of a public park (2nd degree), unlawful possession of a handgun (2nd degree), unlawful possession of a shotgun (3rd degree), and two counts of unlawful disposition of a firearm (4th degree).
The indictment also charges Hackney with possession of cocaine (3rd degree).
First-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in state prison and a $200,000 fine; second-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine; third-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine; and fourth-degree crimes carry a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The second-degree count of unlawful possession of a handgun carries a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of three to five years in prison. The third- and fourth-degree gun charges also carry mandatory periods of parole ineligibility, three years for the third-degree count and 18 months for the fourth-degree counts.
The defendants were arrested in early April 2011, when participating agencies executed search and arrest warrants at various locations in South Jersey.
The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The indictment is posted with this press release atwww.njpublicsafety.com.
The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Camden County.