PATERSON, NJ - The city's narcotics squad busted a wholesale drug operation in South Paterson on Wednesday afternoon, resulting in the seizure of five pounds of marijuana worth about $15,000 and more than $17,000 in cash, police said.

Capt. Troy Oswald said the two men arrested at an apartment at 148 Bloomfield Avenue would have large quantities of marijuana shipped into Paterson from outside the state and selling it to "retail" dealers. Oswald identified those suspects as Yousif Awadallah, 32, of Clifton, and Pierre Kouyoudjian, 48, who lived at the Paterson apartment.

They were charged with selling five pounds of marijuana, selling it within 1,000 feet of School 9 and selling it with 500 feet of the Joseph Masiello senior building, police said.

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The bust took place at the Bloomfield Avenue apartment at about 2:25 pm

Also arrested were three Essex County men: Muhammed Franklin, 36, of East Orange; Teshon Harper, 37, of East Orange; and Raabia McCullers, 31, of Newark, police said. The three of them bought the five pounds of marijuana from the men at the apartment and were pulled over and arrested at the corner of Getty and Gould avenues, police said.

The three Essex County men were charged with possession of the marijuana with intent to sell it, and possession with intent to sell it near the school and senior building.

Awadallah had $15,600 in cash on him when he was arrested, while Franklin had $1,520 and Harper $722, Oswald said