CAMDEN, NJ (CBS) – Officials in New Jersey say they've charged nearly 50 people involved in a "violent narcotics distribution network" with ties to the Mexican cartels.
Acting New Jersey attorney general John Hoffman (at lectern in photo) made the announcement at a news conference in Camden on Thursday.
According to Hoffman, the 47 people, including three brothers who allegedly ran the ring, were charged with first-degree racketeering.
Thirty-four suspects have been arrested so far; warrants have been issued for the remaining suspects.
Two of the alleged leaders of the network, Omar Urbina, 39, of Philadelphia, and his brother, Edwin Urbina, 33, of Pennsauken, were included among those arrested. In addition to racketeering, they are charged with leading a narcotics trafficking network, a first-degree crime that mandates a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Their brother, 34-year-old Edward Urbina, of Camden, who also allegedly headed the ring, is being sought as a fugitive on a racketeering charge.
The Urbina brothers allegedly relied on multiple suppliers who obtained heroin and cocaine from the Mexican drug cartels. Officials say the brothers helmed a highly organized network that sold hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in those two drugs in the area of 4th and York Streets in Camden's northern section.
The Urbinas allegedly relied on multiple suppliers, including:
• Rigo Bello, 39, of Camden,
• Carlos Gonzalez, 35, of Camden, and
• Danny Borges, 36, of Camden.
Those men are being sought as fugitives.
The Urbinas allegedly utilized two supervisors:
• Edwin Falcon, 29, of Camden, and
• Eric Serrano Jr., 29, of Camden.
A series of "case workers" were supposedly responsible for the day-to-day operations of the street-level dealers who conducted the sales of narcotics on city streets. The following nine alleged "case workers" have been charged:
1. Heriberto Nunez, 23, of Camden,
2. Alex Santos, 23, of Camden,
3. Shadi Torres, 23, of Camden,
4. *Sheron Pulliam, 26, of Camden,
5. Anthony Morris, 24, of Camden,
6. Pedro Colon, 41, of Camden,
7. *Daniel D. Mistretta, 22, of Camden,
8. Omar Urbina Jr., 23, of Camden, the son of alleged leader Omar Urbina,
9. Andre Russell, 21, of Camden.
Nunez and Santos were arrested on Friday, Nov. 8, and Torres was arrested on Monday, Nov. 11. The other case worker arrests were made Thursday.
Investigators reportedly executed 13 search warrants and seized more than $218,000 in cash during the raid, as well as six guns and more than five ounces of cocaine. Ten cars and one "party bus" were seized as well, with additional vehicles still subject to seizure.
Hoffman says the charges stem from "Operation North Pole," an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau spanning nine months. Additional help was provided by the Camden County Police Department-Metro Division, Camden County Sheriff's Department, Pennsauken Police Department and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations in Cherry Hill.
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