††††††††††††††††††† †††† Middlesex County Prosecutorís Office

††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††† 25 Kirkpatrick Street, 3rd Floor, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08901 (732) 745-3300


††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††† *News Release* †† ††††††Date: June 29, 2009





Gang members, co-conspirators indicted on drug charges



††††††††† Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan today announced the indictment of a group of individuals, including members of several street gangs, on charges of dealing thousands of dollars worth of crack cocaine, heroin and marijuana and illegal gun possession.


The defendants, most of whom were arrested April 3, 2009, following a series of early-morning raids at their homes, were indicted by the grand jury on Friday, June 26, 2009, on a variety of drug possession and distribution charges following a six-month investigation by members of the Middlesex County Gang, Guns and Drugs Task Force, which is run by the Middlesex County Prosecutorís Office.


With assistance from federal, state and local police agencies, investigators arrested gang members, including a major narcotics supplier who was earning between $20,000 and $40,000 a month in illicit drug sales.


The investigation targeted gang members who had been dealing large amounts of crack cocaine and other illegal substances in Carteret. Police also determined drug transactions were being carried out, to a lesser extent, in Perth Amboy, Woodbridge and several other communities in Middlesex County.


Police also seized about 16 ounces of crack cocaine valued at more than $14,000; a half-ounce of marijuana worth about $2,500 and 69 packets of heroin, valued between $550 and $1,400.


In addition, police confiscated $3,800 cash, a loaded .40-caliber handgun, .22-caliber ammunition, a bullet-proof vest, and a money counting machine and money wrappers.


The indictments mark another step to affirmatively and aggressively target gangs and apprehend gang members involved in criminal activity in Middlesex County.


Prosecutor Kaplan created the Gang, Guns and Drugs Task Force following an anti-gang initiative that is part of Governor Jon S. Corzineís Strategy for Safe Streets and Neighborhoods, under the direction of Attorney General Anne Milgram and Jose Cordero, the statewide director of Gangs, Guns and Violent Crime Control.


Prosecutor Kaplan also credited law enforcement agencies that participated in the investigation or arrests. Included were the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Middlesex County Sheriffís Office and police in Carteret, Edison, New Brunswick, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, South Plainfield, and Woodbridge.


A total of 24 counts in three indictments were handed up.


Among those indicted are Freddy Hill, (DOB 1/26/82) of 2002 Bell St., South Plainfield. He was identified as a Latin Kings associate and was charged with counts of conspiracy and being a leader of a narcotics trafficking network and maintaining a facility to produce controlled dangerous substances between March 17, and April 2, 2009, in Carteret, Edison and South Plainfield. His bail is set at $340,000.


Also charged with conspiracy and leading a narcotics trafficking network in Carteret and Perth Amboy between February 27 and April 2, 2009, was Sir John Ragland, (DOB 7/30/80) of 14 Thornal St., Apt. 1, Carteret. He was identified as a member of the Crips street gang. His bail is $250,000.


Others indicted by the grand jury on counts of conspiring with Ragland are Jonathan Cano, (DOB 7/31/84) of 15 A Somerset St., 1st floor, Carteret; Rafael Rivera, (DOB 12/30/74) of 35 Beverly St., 2nd floor, Carteret, and Shakeisha Davis, (DOB 4/18/78) of 423 Augustine Place, 2nd floor, Perth Amboy. Bail is set at $75,000 for Cano, $50,000 for Rivera, and $50,000 for Davis.


In addition, the grand jury accused Latin Kings associate, Candace St. Juste, (DOB 11/26/83) of 174 Emerson St., Carteret, and reputed high-ranking Bloods member Shareef Edmonds, (DOB 7/3/80) of 15 B Somerset St., 2nd floor, Carteret, with conspiring with Hill to distribute controlled dangerous substances in Carteret and South Plainfield between March and April 2, 2009. Bail for St. Juste is $75,000 and bail for Edmonds is $300,000.


Also indicted on various drug charges are Kamilah Richardson, (DOB 11/14/77) of 22 Mary St., 2nd floor, Carteret and Curtis Mineweather, (DOB 8/18/72) of 15 Somerset St., 2nd floor, Carteret. Richardsonís bail is $150,000 and bail for Mineweather is $100,000.


The grand jury also handed up weapons charges against Edmonds and Richardson, and charged Edmonds, in a separate indictment, as being a person prohibited from possessing a handgun following a prior criminal conviction. The panel charged that Edmonds possessed the .40-caliber handgun in Carteret on April 3, 2009.


The grand jury also charged Malisha Vasquez, (DOB 6/4/73) of 84-A Locust St., Carteret with hindering the apprehension of Edmonds by wrongly telling authorities he was not at her home.


The charges handed up against the defendants are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.