TOTOWA, N.J. — New Jersey’s attorney general announced charges against 49 heroin dealers, users and a supplier Tuesday, as well as the seizure of 100 pounds of heroin, three handguns and cocaine.
Two teenagers were also allegedly roped into this drug trafficking scheme. The bloods gang sect known as the ‘4 Korners’ allegedly used the children as drug runners in their operation.
"This was a vibrant, vibrant operation,” said Attorney General Christopher Porrino. “An operation that conducted numerous transactions on a daily basis.”
He said that ‘Operation Pitfall’ was born out of an objective to reduce violence in Paterson, N.J.
"Drug dealing is a the heart of crime and violence plaguing paterson and many of our inner cities,” said Porrino.
Investigators witnessed the drug network's large consumer base drive into Paterson to pick up the drugs: buyers from the suburbs of Bergen and Passaic counties.
The gang calls themselves the ‘4 Korners' because they operated primarily operated around one square block in Paterson, with the boundaries being Putnam, Mercer, Warren Streets and Rosa Parks Boulevard. This operation has been active for as long as 4 years, right beside Paterson Public School Number 10.
“So, if you can imagine a neighborhood - school children right in the middle of it,” said New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick Callahan. “This activity - both from an opiate, crack cocaine [and the] violence that surrounds those two. There is never one without the other.”
New Jersey State Police are still testing the heroin they recovered for fentanyl, an elephant tranquilizer that is sometimes mixed which causes fatal overdoses. One or two granules is all it takes.
"Users of these illicit drugs are effectively playing Russian roulette,” said Porrino. “Not knowing when the dose that they get is going to be a lethal one."
There are 8 suspects still at large. The accused leaders of the trafficking ring are behind bars. The man who supplied all the heroin was identified by investigators as Jesse Garcia, 27, of Lodi. Jaumel Reese, 30, of Passaic and Marvelous Pitts, 31, of Paterson were named as distribution partners and leaders of the gang.
Pitts is currently in prison in Trenton serving time for a separate aggravated assault charge. Investigators did not say whether he orchestrated the operation from behind bars. But he did serve as the namesake for the state’s investigation, ‘Operation Pitfall’.