By John McDevitt
CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Law enforcement in New Jersey have dismantled an alleged violent drug trafficking ring operating out of Atlantic City.
Officials say pre-dawn raids in several low-income neighborhoods in and around Atlantic City on Tuesday netted more than two dozen alleged members and associates of what federal authorities describe as a major drug trafficking organization.
“More than 300 FBI agents and state and local law enforcement officers have so far arrested 25 members and associates,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman (District of New Jersey) announced Tuesday at a press conference in Camden. “Several others were all ready in custody, including two of their main suppliers.”
Federal authorities say the 25 defendants arrested Tuesday are among 34 people charged — including two brothers who have already been arrested and charged in connection with Atlantic City’s first homicide in 2013 and several defendants already in custody — with participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin since at least October 2012.
Authorities say the organization distributed thousands of packs of heroin with a street value of more than $1-million and repeatedly used violence to maintain their market and to eliminate rivals.
Law enforcement officials say the group also had access to a corrupt bail bondsman who they used to falsify employment records so people could co-sign bonds to get members out of jail and back on the street.