Elizabeth, NJ.--The top two ring-leaders of a drug empire, caught with millions of dollars’ worth of heroin nearly three years ago have been sentenced to a combined total of 26 years in state prison for their part in the crime, acting Union County Prosecutor Thomas Isenhour announced Monday.
This was the largest drug seizure in Union County in a decade and was responsible for getting over 100,000 doses of heroin off the streets of New Jersey.
State Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch sentenced 38-year-old William Camino to a term of 15 years on Friday, while earlier last week 37-year-old Yakin “Yaya” Bryant was sentenced to 11 years. Both defendants will be required to serve at least 85 percent of those terms before the possibility of parole under New Jersey’s No Early Release Act.
Camino, Bryant, and a dozen others were arrested in late 2014 when the Guns, Gangs, Drugs, and Violent Crimes Task Force investigation resulted in the seizure of heroin worth an estimated street value of more than $3 million. The investigation was also responsible for the dismantling of two fully functional, high-volume heroin mills illegally operating in Linden and Union Township, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Jeremiah Lenihan, who prosecuted the case.
Additional drugs were seized at two locations in Elizabeth, Lenihan said. In all, investigators seized a total of approximately 5.5 kilograms of raw and processed heroin, including 2,100 packaged bricks of heroin comprised of more than 100,000 individual packets.
The heroin mills not only supplied large amounts of narcotics throughout New Jersey but also to multiple states.
Also seized as a result of the investigation were a loaded, .40-caliber handgun with hollow-point ammunition, an extended 30-round ammunition magazine, a silencer, and a bulletproof vest.
Assisting in the investigation and the execution of search warrants were the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Union County Police Department, the Union County Sheriff’s Office, the Union County Emergency Response Team SWAT Unit, and the Elizabeth, Linden, and Union police departments.
Camino and Bryant admitted to charges of first-degree racketeering and first-degree possession of heroin with the intent to distribute earlier this year. Twelve other defendants have already pleaded guilty and have been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing.