Police & Fire

Operation Bird Cage: Drugs, Weapons Seized in Somerset and Other Counties

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Hillsborough resident Timothy Jenkins faces multiple drug charges following his arrest in a multi-county investigation dubbed Operation Bird Cage. Credits: Courtesy Somerset County Prosecutor's Office
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SOMERVILLE, NJ – Multiple suspects, including a Hillsborough man, were arrested in a multi-county operation dubbed “Operation Bird Cage,” with police confiscating over $300,000 in drugs, 19 guns, and more than $100,000.

Police also seized nine vehicles, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Those arrested include Timothy Jenkins, 47, of Tall Oak Lane in Hillsborough; Robert Cardinal,  40, and Georgiann Cardinal (Robert’s mother), 69, both of Center Street, Dunellen; Leon Blue, Jr., 52, of Sunset Street, Dumont, and Michael Wayne, 42, of LaTourette Avenue, South Bound Brook.

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Two other Hillsborough residents face minor charges.

The five primary suspects were arrested following a five-month investigation regarding distribution of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, oxycodone pills, and firearms in the Somerset/Middlesex County area, according to Robertson. The defendants were charged with the following offenses:

 Robert Cardinal – 1st degree leader of a narcotics trafficking network, 1st degree promoting organized street crime, 1st degree maintaining or operating a controlled dangerous substance production facility, 3rd degree unlawful transfer or sale of an assault firearm, 3rd degree possession with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, 3rd degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, 3rd degree financial facilitation of criminal activity, and 2nd degree conspiracy,

 Timothy Jenkins – 1st degree leader of a narcotics trafficking network, 1st degree promoting organized street crime, 2nd degree conspiracy to possess a controlled dangerous substance with the intent to distribute, 3rd degree possession with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, 3rd degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, 3rd degree financial facilitation of criminal activity, and 2nd degree conspiracy;

Leon Blue, Jr. – 2nd degree promoting organized street crime, 2rd degree possession with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, 3rd degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, 3rd degree financial facilitation of criminal activity, and 2nd degree conspiracy;

Michael Wayne – Two counts of 2nd degree unlawful possession of an assault firearm, 3rd degree unlawful manufacture, transfer or sale of an assault firearm, 4th degree transfer or sale of a large capacity magazine, and 2nd degree conspiracy;

Georgiann Cardinal – 2nd degree promoting organized street crime, 3rd degree possession with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, 3rd degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, 3rd degree financial facilitation of criminal activity, and 2nd degree conspiracy.     

Investigators executed seven Superior Court Search Warrants; three  in Somerset County, three in Middlesex County, and one  in Bergen County, including the residences of  Cardinal, Jenkins,Wayne and Blue, according to Robertson.

Those searches culminated in the seizure of approximately 1,322 grams (over 1 kilogram) of cocaine, approximately 1,500 grams (over 1 kilogram) of methamphetamine, approximately 1 pound of marijuana, 2,010 bags of heroin, 298 Oxycodone pills, six (6) Roxycodone pills, 48 morphine pills, 15 ecstasy pills, 247 Suboxone films, 294 unidentified pills, a hydraulic kilo-press and various other drug manufacturing equipment, Robertson said.

In addition, investigators located and seized approximately $98,159.00 dollars in U.S currency, 19 total firearms to include nine (9) handguns (loaded 9mm Taurus, two (2) 92A1 9mm Berettas, .22 cal RG Industries revolver, .44 cal Ruger revolver, .22 cal Ruger SR22P, .327 cal Ruger SP101 revolver, .22lr Smith& Wesson MP22, and 45ACP FHN FNX-45), four (4) rifles (.22 cal Marlin, Savage rifle, .30-06 Remington Arms, and .30-30 Stevens), four (4) shotguns (two (2) Ithaca 12 gauges, M&R 20 gauge, and a loaded Mossberg 20 gauge), and two (2) assault weapons (one  .556/.223 AR15 platform assault rifle and one 308 caliber AR10 platform assault rifle).

The cocaine seized has an estimated street value of $84,000, the methamphetamine seized has an estimated street value of $255,000, the heroin seized has an estimated street value of $14,070, the assorted pills have an estimated street value of $12,735 and the Suboxone films have an estimated street value of $4,940, according to Robertson. 

Several other suspects were arrested in the investigation, according to the prosecutor, including:

Anthony Alston, 38, of Emma Street, Elizabeth - 2nd degree promoting organized street crime, 3rd degree possession with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, 3rd degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, 3rd degree financial facilitation of criminal activity, and 2nd degree conspiracy.

Eric Ward, 48, of Woodlawn Avenue, South River - 3rd degree manufacturing a controlled dangerous substance and 3rd degree conspiracy.

 Anthony Mastroserio, age 31, of Washington St, South Bound Brook, - 3rd degree unlawful transfer or sale of an assault firearm and 3rd degree conspiracy, 4th degree transfer or sale of a large capacity magazine and 3rd degree conspiracy.

Kelly Smith, 52, of Tall Oak Lane Hillsborough – 3rd degree receiving stolen property.

The following have not been arrested but arrest warrants have been filed charging them with the following offenses, according to Robertson:

Shawn Page, 46, of West 116th Street, New York – d degree possession with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, 3rd degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and 3rd degree conspiracy.

Andres Nazario, 49, of Oak Place, Piscataway - 3rd degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance and 3rd degree conspiracy.

William Keithley, 47, of Orlando Florida (last known address) - 3rd degree unlawful transfer or sale of an assault firearm and 3rd degree conspiracy.

The following individuals were all arrested and charged with 3rd degree conspiracy and attempt to possess CDS:

Alan Lisezewski, age 35, of Vernon Court, Piscataway; Daniel O’Brien, 53, of Runyon Avenue, Piscataway; George Walling Jr., 27, of Arlington Avenue, Union Beach; Antonio Esposito 55, of Bergen Street, South Plainfield; Arthur Kamenetsky, 33, of Harbour Club, Drive Parlin; Mark Hall, of Giles Avenue Middlesex; Maria Saltsides, 37, of Lewis Street, Rahway; Gerald Sullivan, 59, of Hodge Road, in the Flagtown section of Hillsborough.

Agencies involved in the investigation and subsequent arrests in addition to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office include the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, New Jersey State Police, U.S.  Postal Inspectors, Hillsborough Township Police, South Bound Brook Police, South Plainfield  Police, Dunellen Police and Middlesex Borough Police.

Others include the Somerset, Middlesex and Bergen County SWAT teams, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey HIDTA Group 3, the Bound Brook Police Department K-9 Unit, Somerset County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office as well as their K-9 Unit, the Houston, Texas Police Department, and the Greenville, SC Carolina Police Department.

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