PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- Ten people were charged in a gang crackdown on the streets of Paterson Thursday targeting drug dealing in a troubled neighborhood.
The suspects are reputed members of the UpTop street gang, operating primarily in Paterson's Fourth Ward.
The gang's turf is colloquially described as being "up the hill."
The 10 allegedly distributed heroin, fentanyl and cocaine.
Federal prosecutors said gang members sometimes competed with each other for their turf but also worked together to ensure outsiders were unable to distribute drugs in their territory.
"In the onset of the pandemic, borders were closed, supply was low, demand was high, and you had infighting among different dealers," Mayor Andre Sayegh said. "They don't want to go out of business, and that, in my opion, resulted in a spike of gun violence."
"Today's takedown of gang members is a major victory for the residents of Paterson," he said. "Public safety has been a critical component of the foundation of my administration's agenda and today's charges speak to the need for aggressive measures against those who strike fear in our residents and violate our quality of life. I'd like to offer my gratitude to the U.S Attorney's Office, ATF and the other agencies that were involved in this operation."
The suspects were identified as:
--Corey Boyd, 23, of Paterson
--Leo Edwards, 27, of Paterson
--Kwame Ellis, 30, of Paterson
--Sean Morgan, 21, of Paterson
--Brent Staton, 20, of Paterson
--Kassan Drakeford, 31, of Paterson
--Stefan Cameron, 25, of Hackensack, New Jersey
--Devin Kyle, 21, of Paterson
--Edwin Diaz, 19, of Paterson
--Anthony Herring, 38, of Paterson
Ellis remains at large.
Each suspect faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.
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