CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE
(April 22, 2013)-- Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III has announced the culmination of a long term undercover operation conducted by the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office Gangs, Guns, and Narcotics Task Force. This investigation, dubbed Operation Day Tripper, targeted heroin traffickers and consumers who traveled regularly, some daily, to and from source cities such as Newark, Trenton, and Easton for their illegal drugs.
Operation Day Tripper was launched after a string of burglaries in Hunterdon and Somerset Counties in the beginning of 2012. The Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office Burglary Task Force made multiple arrests in several cases and identified the common denominator between those burglaries and the suspects as addictive narcotic drugs. “Basically, there is a link between stealing and supporting a drug habit,” said Prosecutor Kearns at the time.
The Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office then teamed up with detectives and patrol elements from Flemington Borough, Clinton Township, Town of Clinton, Lambertville City, Raritan Township, Readington Township, and the New Jersey State Police. Meetings were held discussing suspects, tactics, and objectives. The Prosecutor made it clear early on that the purpose of the operation was to disrupt Heroin trafficking in the county. “We had clear evidence that the effects of addictive narcotic drugs were causing an increase in other crimes across the county,” said Kearns.
Additionally, in the first half of 2012, Hunterdon County had nine drug related overdoses. Many were attributed to Heroin. Prosecutor Kearns stated at the time that lab results on the Heroin from one overdose case came back as 90 - 95% pure. “The purity of the Heroin was a contributing factor in the death of the victim,” said the Prosecutor at the time.
“We also found that young people were typically getting addicted to pharmaceutical opiate drugs first and turning to Heroin because it is cheaper and easier to get. A bag of Heroin can sell for as little as $4-5 in the city,” said Kearns, “Next thing you know, they are driving to Newark or Trenton twice a week to pick up.”
Prosecutor Kearns also added at the time, “We cannot ignore this. As with any illegal drug sold on the street, there are no quality control standards. You just don’t know what you are getting. You do not know what the purity level of the Heroin is or what toxic substance was used to cut the Heroin. Users are risking death every time they get high. This is not a problem limited to urban areas. People are overdosing here in Hunterdon County.”
Prosecutor Kearns also said that Hunterdon County is a gateway for drug distribution in New Jersey. Interstate 78 runs right through Hunterdon and connects the ports of New York and New Jersey to the entire state and Pennsylvania. Hunterdon has also seen a dramatic spike in gang activity. “We aren’t going to sugarcoat this. This county has drug dealers, drug addicts, and street gangs, and they are affecting the quality of life here,” said the Prosecutor
The Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office Gangs, Guns, and Narcotics Task Force knew from experience that groups of people would regularly pool their money and travel into the city to pick up quantities of Heroin and return to Hunterdon to distribute it and use it. This operation was designed to disrupt this. Surveillance operations were put into place and people were arrested once they returned to Hunterdon County with their drugs.
After almost 10 months, Operation Day Tripper is being considered highly successful. A total of 47 suspects were arrested on charges ranging from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute heroin as well as possession of hypodermic syringes and paraphernalia. Over 3000 bags of heroin were seized during the operation as were six vehicles and over $6000 in U.S. currency. Additionally, multiple fugitives were arrested, including two subjects wanted for
robbery in Newark. Other burglary suspects were also arrested during the surveillance operations.
Additionally, a large scale heroin importation operation was also disrupted by the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Postal Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Task Force. The Prosecutor is reporting that six and one half pounds of pure raw heroin were intercepted upon delivery to an apartment in Flemington. The heroin was secreted in food products and imported from Honduras via JFK Airport.
According to Prosecutor Kearns, “When diluted and repackaged for street level distribution, that amount of heroin would have yielded well over a quarter million individual bags or doses of heroin worth $1.25 million. Those doses would have undoubtedly found their way into the communities of Hunterdon County.”
The Prosecutor added, “We are very pleased with the results of this operation so far and I want to make it clear that our work will continue. People will still travel into the city to buy their heroin and still get arrested by police when they return. That is a fact.”
Prosecutor Kearns also wished to thank the Police Chiefs and Directors from the following police departments who provided manpower and support for this operation: Flemington Borough, Clinton Township, Town of Clinton, Lambertville City, Raritan Township, Readington Township, and the New Jersey State Police.
Anyone with information about drug activity in Hunterdon County can submit anonymous tips by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-321-0010 or by going to www.crimestoppershunterdon.com, or text messaging “HCTIPS” plus your tip message to 274637 (CRIMES). Tipsters can also download the free mobile app “Tipsubmit” and select Hunterdon County to submit anonymous tips via text messaging. All tips are anonymous and kept confidential.
The filing of a criminal complaint is merely a step in the criminal justice process. The defendant is presumed innocent until the matter is resolved in a court of law.
SOURCE PRESS RELEASE