SOMERVILLE, NJ - Operation Three Card Monte has led to the arrest of Michael Melitski and John Renner after a tri-county narcotics investigation, according to a release by Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano, Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns, III and Warren County Prosecutor Richard T. Burke.
Warren Township Police and K9 Onyx assisted in the investigation.
In the release, Prosecutor Geoffrey D. Soriano said," As far as we are aware, this three county initiative was the first of its kind, and I must say that the teamwork was nothing short of spectacular.”
Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns III added, "I would like to thank Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano and Warren County Prosecutor Richard Burke for their leadership in the successful conclusion of this operation, as well the various municipal police chiefs and officers in charge that provided their department's expertise and manpower. I also commend the investigators from all the participating agencies for their commitment, dedication, and hard work. All involved worked together toward the common goal of taking this dangerous poison off our streets."
According to Soriano, on April 4, after a four month tri-county narcotic investigation regarding the distribution of methamphetamine, detectives from the three County Prosecutor’s Offices and officers from municipal police departments in the three counties executed search warrants on defendant Melitski’s High Bridge residence, his rented garage located on Belvidere Avenue in Washington Township, New Jersey, and two of his vehicles. The searches resulted in the seizure of over two ounces of methamphetamine, $20,000 in U.S. currency, and three vehicles owned by Melitski. In addition, a personal bank account with a balance of $139,000 belonging to defendant Melitski was frozen by the Superior Court.
Detectives also executed search warrants on defendant Renner and a property located on Route 206 South in Hillsborough Township at which he runs his business. These searches resulted in the seizure of one-half ounce of methamphetamine and a firearm.
During the investigation, detectives determined that between the years 2013 and 2015 defendant Melitski would frequently travel to a casino located in Pennsylvania. Once there, defendant Melitski used currency from his criminal activity to gamble in an effort to conceal or disguise the source of the money.
Defendant Melitski was charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, 2nd degree, Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 2nd Degree, Money Laundering, 2nd degree and Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 3rd degree.
Defendant Melitski was lodged in the Hunterdon County Jail, with bail set by the Honorable Yolanda Ciccone, A.J.S.C. at $350,000 cash only.
Defendant Renner was charged with Maintaining or Operating a Controlled Dangerous Substance Production Facility, 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm During a Drug Offense, 2nd Degree, Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, 2nd Degree, Distribution of Methamphetamine, 3rd Degree, and 3rd degree Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine.
Defendant Renner was lodged in the Somerset County Jail with a bail set by the Honorable Yolanda Ciccone, A.J.S.C. at $350,000.00, cash only.
In the early morning hours of April 8, 2015, the following individuals were arrested and charged with Conspiracy to Possess a Controlled Dangerous Substance, 3rd degree and Attempt to Possess a Controlled Dangerous Substance, 3rd degree:
Ned Coolbaugh, age 33, of Rt. 579, Flemington, New Jersey
Stacie Hillman, age 34, of East Main Street, High Bridge, New Jersey
James Mahler, age 46, of West Wilkes Barre Street, Easton, Pennsylvania
Kyle Reed, age 32, of Mine Road, Asbury, New Jersey
Jan Thatcher, age 54, of Island Road, Mt. Bethel, Pennsylvania
John Thomas, age 50, of Rt. 519, Belvidere, New Jersey
The methamphetamine seized in this investigation had a total street value of over $12,520.00
The following law enforcement agencies assisted in this investigation:
New Jersey National Guard Counterdrug Task Force
New Jersey State Police
Hillsborough Township Police Department
Somerset County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit
Warren Township Police Department/ K-9 Unit
Clinton Township Police Department
High Bridge Police Department
Raritan Township Police Department
Readington Township Police Department
Hackettstown Police Department
Mansfield Police Department
Phillipsburg Police Department
Pohatcong Police Department
Warren County Sheriffs Office
Washington Township Police Department/K-9 Unit
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