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21 Indicted In Major Heroin Distribution Ring That Impacted Somerset County

Twenty-one people who allegedly conspired to operate a high-volume heroin distribution enterprise out of heroin mills and stash houses in New Brunswick, Piscataway and Edison were indicted Thursday, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced this week.

The alleged leader of the ring, Derek Fuqua, 36, of Piscataway, is charged with leading a narcotics trafficking network, a first-degree crime that carries a sentence of life in state prison, including 25 years of parole ineligibility.

He allegedly utilized a network that included a number of his relatives to operate a major wholesale heroin distribution ring.  He allegedly arranged the packaging and distribution of heroin from several residences in and around New Brunswick. 

The heroin would be sold to numerous co-conspirators for redistribution in Middlesex, Somerset, Mercer, Monmouth, and Hudson counties. 

Fuqua also faces first-degree charges of racketeering, maintaining a heroin production facility, distribution of heroin, and possession of heroin and cocaine with intent to distribute, as well as second-degree conspiracy and weapons charges.

Twenty other people, including at least five relatives of Fuqua, face second-degree charges of conspiracy and money laundering for allegedly assisting in the heroin ring. 

Ten of them, including Fuqua’s mother, Cynthia Fuqua, 52, are charged along with Derek Fuqua with first-degree racketeering. The mother’s residence on Seaman Street in New Brunswick allegedly was a primary distribution hub for the ring. There are 22 defendants in all, including a woman who is not charged in the conspiracy but faces weapons charges.

The indictment stems from a multi-agency investigation led by the New Jersey State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice and the New Brunswick Police Department. 

Most of the defendants were arrested on April 23, 2013, during a sweep by nearly 100 officers.  During the takedown, detectives executed search warrants and seized more than two kilograms of raw heroin, six guns, including an assault weapon, over $150,000 cash, and many items related to heroin production, including grinders, scales, stamps, ink pads and packaging materials.

“By putting Derek Fuqua and other alleged heroin wholesalers behind bars, we are cutting off the pipeline that is fueling an epidemic of heroin abuse, death and wasted lives throughout New Jersey,” said Hoffman.  “We will continue to join forces with our law enforcement partners to crack down hard on those who push this poison.”

“These were dangerous drug dealers, as evidenced by the guns and quantities of heroin we seized,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “They were an immediate threat to people in the New Brunswick area, where they based their operations, and their deadly wares posed a threat that extended across a five-county distribution area and beyond.”

“Judging by the amount of drugs and weapons seized, it is clear that this group was organized and willing to use violence to defend their operation,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “By dismantling this operation, a message has been sent that law enforcement will work together to ensure the safety of our communities.”

The majority of the drugs and weapons were found at Derek Fuqua’s residence on Aspen Court in Piscataway and the residence of co-defendant Jennefer Morfa, 27, on Ellen Street in New Brunswick, which allegedly was used as a “stash house.”

Two handguns and over $100,000 were recovered at Fuqua’s home.  Two kilograms of heroin, worth an estimated $190,000, over 5 ounces of cocaine, two handguns, drug packaging materials, and other narcotics were recovered from Morfa’s residence. Derek Fuqua and Morfa are charged with maintaining a heroin production facility at that location.

Rashaun Bryant, 32, and his girlfriend, Samone English, 37, also face a first-degree charge of maintaining a heroin production facility for allegedly preparing and packaging heroin at their residence on Weston Forbes Court in Edison.  State Police seized a large quantity of heroin in their house, along with a handgun and heroin packaging materials, including boxes, wax folds and ink stamps.

Police seized a handgun and an Intratec TEC- 9 assault weapon with a defaced serial number from a storage facility in North Brunswick used by defendant Johnny Totten, 38, and his girlfriend, Shannon Blanding, 35, both of Franklin Township, Somerset County.  Blanding is the only defendant who is not charged with conspiracy.  She faces two counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a weapon.

The case was presented to the state grand jury by the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau. The lead detectives for the State Police Violent & Organized Crime Control Bureau are Detective Sgt. Christopher Wright and Detective Sgt. Daniel Connolly.

The other agencies that participated in the investigation were the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, the New Brunswick Police Department, the Somerset County Tactical Unit, the Edison Police Department, the Piscataway Police Department, the Franklin Police Department (Somerset County), the North Brunswick Police Department and the Jersey City Police Department.

The takedown on April 23, 2013 utilized over 50 troopers, plus numerous officers from partnering law enforcement agencies.  All of the warrant entries were made by the New Jersey State Police T.E.A.M.S. Unit, Middlesex County SWAT, Somerset County Tactical Team and Piscataway Police SWAT.

First-degree crimes carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison.  The first-degree possession and distribution charges carry a fine of up to $500,000, while the charges of racketeering and maintaining a heroin production facility carry a fine of up to $750,000.  Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

The second-degree crime of possession of a gun as a convicted felon carries a mandatory minimum term of five years in prison without parole.  Third-degree crimes carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree crimes carry a sentence of up to 18 months in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.  The indictment was handed up to Superior Court Judge Pedro J. Jimenez Jr. in Mercer County, who assigned the case to Middlesex County, where the defendants will be arraigned at a later date.

All of the following 11 defendants were charged with first-degree racketeering, second-degree conspiracy and second-degree money laundering.  They also face additional charges, as indicated:

1.     Derek Fuqua, 36, of Piscataway. Leader of a Narcotics Trafficking Network (1st degree), Maintaining or Operating a Heroin Production Facility (1st degree), Distribution of Heroin (1st degree), Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute (1st degree), Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute (1st degree), Distribution of Heroin (2nd degree), Distribution of Heroin in School Zone (2 counts - 3rd degree), Possession of Gun as Convicted Felon (2nd degree), Possession of Gun During Drug Offense (2nd degree), and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (2nd degree).

2.     Cynthia Fuqua, 52, of New Brunswick.  Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute in School Zone (3rd degree), Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute (3rd degree), and Maintaining Fortified Premises (Video Security System at Seaman Street Home) (3rd degree).

3.     Tyquan M. Fuqua, 22, of New Brunswick.  Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute in School Zone (3rd degree), Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute (3rd degree), and Maintaining Fortified Premises (Video Security System at Seaman Street Home) (3rd degree).

4.     Jenneffer Morfa, 27, of New Brunswick.  Maintaining or Operating a Heroin Production Facility (1stdegree), Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute (1st degree), Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute (1st degree), and Possession of Gun During Drug Offense (2nd degree).

5.     Kevin Harrell, 35, of Piscataway. Maintaining or Operating a Heroin Production Facility (1st degree), Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute (2nd degree), and Unlawful Possession of a Stun Gun (4thdegree).

6.     Rashaun Bryant, 32, of Edison.  Maintaining or Operating a Heroin Production Facility (1st degree), Possession of Gun as Convicted Felon (2nd degree), Possession of Gun During Drug Offense (2nd degree), and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (2nd degree).

7.     Samone English, 37, of Edison.  Maintaining or Operating a Heroin Production Facility (1st degree), and Possession of Gun During Drug Offense (2nd degree).

8.     Trevis Thomas, 24, Jersey City.  Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute (1st degree).

9.     Keith Prim, 41, of Carteret.  Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute (2nd degree).

10.  Simya Berrien, 22, of New Brunswick.

11.  Chanell Virgil, 36, of Somerset.

All of the following 10 defendants were charged with second-degree conspiracy and second-degree money laundering.  They also face additional charges, as indicated:

1.     Alphonso Fuqua, 51, of New Brunswick.  Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute in School Zone (3rd degree), Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute (3rd degree), and Maintaining Fortified Premises (Video Security System at Seaman Street Home) (3rd degree).

2.     James Fuqua, 54, of New Brunswick.  Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute in School Zone (3rd degree), Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute (3rd degree), and Maintaining Fortified Premises (Video Security System at Seaman Street Home) (3rd degree). 

3.     Allen Coleman, 54, of New Brunswick.  Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute in School Zone (3rd degree), Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute (3rd degree), and Maintaining Fortified Premises (Video Security System at Seaman Street Home) (3rd degree).

4.     Eddie Wall, 33, of Jersey City.  Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute (1st degree).

5.     Marion Darby, 32, New Brunswick.

6.     James Smith, 29, of New Brunswick

7.     Andre Childs, 27, of East Windsor.  Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute (3rd degree), Possession of Methylone with Intent to Distribute (3rd degree), and Possession of Cocaine (3rd degree).

8.     Lonnie Britton, 34, of Somerset.

9.     Shakira Styles, 35, of Piscataway.  Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute (2nd degree) and Unlawful Possession of a Stun Gun (4th degree).

10.  Johnny Totten, 38, of Franklin Township.  Possession of Gun as Convicted Felon (2nd degree) and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (2 counts - 2nd degree).

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