100+ arrested in NJ gang, drug bust

April 30, 2009 3:45:06 PM PDT
Police in New Jersey made a large drug and gang bust after shifting the way they monitor suspects. Because of more surveillance cameras on the streets, police say drug dealers are conducting their business from inside houses. And they say, as part of "Operation Clean House," they rounded up a dozens of dealers, guns and drugs. Authorities say it was a high-impact, short-term gang investigation that netted a big catch. Operation Clean House targeted what police considered East Orange's most notorious offenders.

"If we know they're violent, we gotta get them off the streets before they commit the next shooting, the next homicide," New Jersey director of law enforcement Jose Cordero said.

It is called Operation Clean House because police say suspects took their operations off street corners and behind closed doors, re-establishing themselves in areas police had flushed out before.

"They rent an apartment, and they open up their narcotics enterprises for business," East Orange police chief Ronald Borgo said.

But police were anticipating that. And how did they know? Surveillance cameras. They have 60 more in the high-crime areas of the city, and they've captured criminal activity that has led to many arrests.

That's why dealers moved indoors. But police say outstanding intellegence kept them ahead of the game.

"These folks think they can fortress themselves in an apartment, fortified with cameras and barricaded doors and that sort of thing," Essex County sheriff Armando Fontoura said. "But it is no safe haven."

Authorities say 165 people, 76 of them gang members, were arrested. Police seized 15 guns, $55,000 worth of illegal drugs and 662 bullets.

"Think about the fact that every single one of those bullets could be a death in the state of New Jersey that will no longer occur," attorney general Ann Milgram said.

And residents say the police work is working.

"They come immediately, as soon as you call them," one said.

"Since police are around a lot more, it's been safer," added another. "Like kids don't hang on the block as much, so it seems safer now."

---

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

USEFUL LINKS:
  • VIEWER PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

  • REPORT TYPO

  • GET WIDGET

  • EYEWITNESS TWITTER

  • FIND US ON FACEBOOK



  • Load Comments