TRENTON, NJ – A major operation led by the New Jersey State Police led to the takedown of a major fentanyl and heroin mill in Paterson that distributed its narcotics in wax folds stamped with the same brand names that have been linked to 14 fatal and 13 nonfatal overdoses, according to Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan.
In a Friday announcement the law enforcement officials said that the investigation also led to the seizure of approximately 6,300 individual doses, an additional kilogram of heroin, and 170 grams of fentanyl. The total value of the narcotics is said to be more than $100,500.
The investigation, the statement read, came out of efforts to fight the opioid crisis, including by identifying and disrupting chokepoints in the drug supply by neutralizing heroin mills across the state.
“By shutting down this drug mill and preventing thousands of doses of suspected heroin and fentanyl from reaching the street – we undoubtedly saved lives,” said Attorney General Grewal.“Since its formation in late 2018, the State Police Opioid Enforcement Task Force has dismantled over 20 opioid mills and seized two-thirds of a million potentially deadly doses of heroin and fentanyl.We will continue to pursue this aggressive, collaborative strategy, spearheaded by the State Police, to dismantle drug mills and other major drug sources and choke off the supply line of deadly opioids coming into our communities.”
During a month-long investigation, detectives from the New Jersey State Police Trafficking North Unit determined that an opioid mill was being operated out of a residence on Cliff Street. On Tuesday, July 14, State Police reported observing several alleged drug transactions at the residence between the occupants of a Toyota Camry, Honda Odyssey, and an Infiniti QX6.
A short time later, detectives along with members of the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office stopped the vehicles. The driver of the Toyota was found to be in possession of 2,500 individual doses of heroin. The occupants of the Honda were found to be in possession of 3,800 individual doses of heroin, a kilogram of heroin, and 170 grams of fentanyl. The occupants of the Infiniti were found to be in possession of $10,000 cash. All of the suspects were arrested without incident.
While conducting a search of the Honda, detectives recovered 11 different stamps used to brand packaged narcotics. Drug traffickers market their “brand” of drug by ink-stamping the outside of a wax fold with a unique image, word or phrase such as “Home Alone,” “Scorpion,” and “Same Number,” which are examples of the stamps recovered.
Shortly after the arrests, a search warrant was executed at the residence, which resulted in the seizure of additional packaging materials consistent with a narcotics production facility.
Joel Rodriguez-Gomez, 29, William Jimenez-Reyes, 37, Nelson Reinoso, 41, and Johanna Reynoso, 29, all of Paterson, were charged with maintaining a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) production facility, possession of CDS with intent to distribute, possession of CDS, possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school zone, and conspiracy to engage in distribution of CDS. All four suspects were lodged at the Passaic County Jail pending detention hearings.
Jordani Barragan, 22, also of Paterson, was charged with possession of CDS with intent to distribute, possession of heroin, possession of prescription legend drugs, and possession of marijuana. He was released pending a court appearance.
“The deadly drugs that are being manufactured and sold on our streets are decimating communities and destroying families. A deadly dose taken can have the same effect as a bullet fired from a gun,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “By shutting down these illegal drug mills and aggressively pursuing the operators, a message will be sent that law enforcement will not waver in our commitment to rid our neighborhoods of deadly drugs.”
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