NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – Members of a local narcotics trafficking network have been arrested after a four-month investigation conducted by several law enforcement agencies, including the Franklin Township Police department and the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.

Operation Transformer has resulted in charges being filed against several people in Middlesex and Somerset counties, authorities said.

Police say, the following individual was arrested following a four-month investigation into the distribution of heroin in the Somerset/Middlesex County area. He was charged with the following offenses:

Sign Up for Franklin Township Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Dwight Beckett, age 56, Somerset Street, Somerset, NJ – 4th degree Possession of Hollow point bullets and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a disorderly persons offense.

Police say, Tuesday, October 29, 2019 the following individual was arrested for 3rd degree Conspiracy to Possess a Controlled Dangerous Substance:

Thomas Newsom, age 66, Somerset.

Police say, following individuals were charged with 3rd degree Conspiracy to Possess a Controlled Dangerous Substance but have not been arrested as Investigators continue to search for them:

• Angel Pena, age 69, Somerset.

• Timothy Glover, age 50, Somerset.

• Robert Friedman, age 55, Somerset.

According to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, eight Superior Court-issued search warrants were executed on Oct. 23, including the residences of Cooper, James, Daniel Brown, 39, of Spotswood, Shaday Gordon, 33, of Highland Park, Christine Peritore, 45, of Edison and Melanie Giachetti, 45, of Edison.

Police seized about 70 grams of raw heroin, about 2,500 bags of packaged heroin, about one ounce of cocaine, a Charter Arms .38 caliber handgun, $5,500  and several items utilized for drug manufacturing to include empty wax folds, ink pads, various brands of stampers utilized to identify heroin, sifters, scales, packaging material, rubber bands and cutting agents.

The heroin seized has an estimated street value of  $30,000  and the cocaine seized has an estimated street value of about $1,300, according to the press release.

Cooper and Brown were additionally charged with first degree armed robbery for their roles during a home invasion in Plainfield that occurred on Oct. 3, according to police.

The announcement identified Ibe Allah, 53, of North Brunswick as the “leader” of the narcotics trafficking network. He was charged with first degree promotion of organized street crime, first degree maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility, second degree conspiracy, second degree possession with intent to distribute heroin and second degree possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

Police said 12 people were charged with third degree conspiracy to possess a controlled dangerous substance on Oct. 29. Among those charged were Derek Andrews, 55, of Hale Street; Irving Figueroa, 31, Freeman Street; Jose Medero-Lopez, 50, of Wright Place; Jose Cotto, 49, of Towson Street and Angel Oquendo, 56, of Plum Street.

Travis Best, 51, of Remsen Avenue, has also been charged with third degree conspiracy to possess a controlled dangerous substance. Police said he and three others from Franklin (Somerset County) has been charged but have not been arrested as investigators continue to search for them.

Stamps used to brand the heroin seized by police included Transformers, Major League Baseball, Jumpman, Elmo with Love, Tango and Cash, Tiger Woods, Kill Bill, Joy & Pain, Dope Dick, Block Buster and Cadillac.

Anyone with information regarding the seized stamps should contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office at 908-231-7100 and ask for Det. John Dugan or Det. John Tuchmatulin.

These individuals were arrested following a four-month investigation into the distribution of heroin in the Somerset/Middlesex County area. They were charged with the following offenses:

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is being asked to contact the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force Unit at 908-231-7100 or use the STOPit app. The STOPit app allows citizens to provide anonymous reports including videos and photos. STOPit can be downloaded to your smart phone for free at the Google Play Store or Apple App Store, access code: SOMERSETNJ.

Anonymous information can also be provided via the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888-577-TIPS. All STOPit reports and Crime Stoppers tips will be kept confidential.