Friday, November 15, 2013

47 charged in takedown of Camden, NJ drug network with ties to Mexican drug cartels

CAMDEN — Authorities have taken down a narcotics distribution network with ties to Mexican drug cartels that was dealing heroin and cocaine in North Camden, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced Thursday.
Edward Urbina

Of the 47 people charged, a multi-agency team has arrested 34 defendants. The remaining targets are being sought on warrants, authorities said.
Omar Urbina

The arrests include two alleged leaders of the network, Omar Urbina, 39, of Philadelphia, Pa., and his brother, Edwin Urbina, 33, of Pennsauken. In addition to racketeering, they are charged with leading a narcotics trafficking network, a first-degree crime that carries a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

Their brother, Edward Urbina, 34, of Camden, who also allegedly headed the ring, is being sought as a fugitive on a racketeering charge. Omar and Edwin Urbina were arrested on Nov. 8. Three other arrests were made on Nov. 8 and one was made on Nov. 11, but most arrests were made Thursday.
Edwin Urbina
The charges stem from Operation North Pole, a nine-month investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. Investigative assistance 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. Numerous agencies, including the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, participated as members of the multi-agency force that fanned out across Camden beginning early Thursday morning to arrest the remaining targets of the investigation.

The three Urbina brothers allegedly headed a highly organized network that sold hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in heroin and cocaine in the area surrounding 4th and York Streets in North Camden, authorities said.

Associates allegedly “rented” blocks or street corners from the Urbina family, allowing them to sell drugs in those areas. In return, the Urbinas provided protection to the “tenants.” The Urbinas allegedly relied on violence to keep interlopers off their “set.” The Urbina family and its associates allegedly have controlled the open-air drug markets in this area of Camden for many years. The three brothers allegedly relied on multiple suppliers who obtained heroin and cocaine from Mexican drug cartels. A number of the defendants have violent criminal records and some have ties to criminal street gangs.

Rigo Beto
Carlos Gonzalez
“This multi-million dollar narcotics syndicate headed by members of the Urbina family allegedly has operated in North Camden for many years, pushing its poison to countless young users and ruling its turf with intimidation and violence,” Hoffman said. “Through Operation North Pole, we are putting an end to this criminal dynasty and making the community safer for the good families who live here.”

The Urbinas allegedly relied on multiple suppliers, including Rigo Bello, 39, Carlos Gonzalez, 35, and Danny Borges, 36, all of Camden. Those men are being sought as fugitives.

The Urbinas allegedly utilized two supervisors, Edwin Falcon, 29, and Eric Serrano Jr., 29, both of Camden.

Edwin Falcon
Danny Borges
They allegedly managed the street-level narcotics dealers and served as a conduit between the lower-level employees and the leaders. Falcon and Serrano were arrested on Nov. 8.

Additionally, a series of “case workers” were responsible for the day-to-day operations of the street-level “trappers” or dealers, who actually conducted the sales of narcotics to customers, authorities said. The following nine alleged “case workers” have been charged (*indicates the individual remains a fugitive):

Eric Serrano
Heriberto Nunez, 23, of Camden,
Alex Santos, 23, of Camden,
Shadi Torres, 23, of Camden,
*Sheron Pulliam, 26, of Camden,
Anthony Morris, 24, of Camden,
Pedro Colon, 41, of Camden,
*Daniel D. Mistretta, 22, of Camden,
Omar Urbina Jr., 23, of Camden, the son of alleged leader Omar Urbina,
Andre Russell, 21, of Camden.
Nunez and Santos were arrested on Friday, Nov. 8, and Torres was arrested on Monday, Nov. 11. The other arrests of case workers were made Thursday.

Investigators executed 13 search warrants, seizing more than $218,000 in cash, six guns and more than 5 ounces of cocaine. In addition, 10 cars and one “party bus” were seized, with additional vehicles still subject to seizure.

The defendants are being lodged in the Camden County Jail. Bail for each of the Urbina brothers is set at $1 million. Bails for the other defendants are set at $100,000 to $1 million. All 46 men and one woman charged in the investigation are charged with first-degree racketeering. That charge carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $200,000. All were also charged with third-degree conspiracy, and many were charged with second or third-degree drug distribution offenses.

Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000. The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Because they are indictable offenses, the charges will be presented to a grand jury for potential indictment.

The following individuals allegedly are street-level runners/ baggers, trappers (dealers), and lookouts (*indicates the individual remains a fugitive):

*Isadel Falcon, 27, of Camden.
Adamm Castelar, 26, of Camden.
Joseph Torres, 21, of Camden.
Fuquan Hobgen, 27, of Camden.
Ulysses Serrano, 25, of Camden.
Adrian Johnson, 21, of Camden.
Devon Williams, 25, of Camden.
Antwan Saulters, 26, of Camden.
Lonnie Reevey, 24, of Camden.
Jose Luis Rivera, 39, of Camden.
Lahquae St. Juste, 20, of Camden.
Rad Stratton, 19, of Camden.
Jacob Rodriguez, 19, of Camden.
*Lamar Soto, 20, of Camden.
Tyree Rozier, 22, Pennsauken.
*Sherrod Jones, 40, of Camden.
Eric Caraballo, 45, of Camden.
Christopher Anderson, 24, of Camden.
*William Lincoln, 36, of Sicklerville.
*Eric Trusty, 20, of Camden.
*Justin Henry, 26, of Woodbury.
Daquan Bowman, 22, of Camden.
Taneal Walker-Combs (woman), 20, of Camden.
Eduardo Flores, 26, of Camden.
*Jaymeal Yeldell, 25, of Camden.
Adrian Torres, 25, of Darby, Pa.
Jamil Lindsey, 20, of Camden.
Kevin Mena Carmona, 25, of Camden.
*Carlos A. Diaz, 40, of Camden.   
Juan Garcia, 24, of Camden.

The following agencies assisted in making arrests:

FBI, Cherry Hill and Philadelphia Offices
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration/Camden High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force
U.S. Marshals Service
U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives
New Jersey State Police
New Jersey State Parole Board
Camden County Prosecutor’s Office
Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office
Cherry Hill Police Department
Gloucester Township Police Department
Gloucester City Police Department
Evesham Township Police Department

NJ Times, Abclocal