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NJ drug dealers caught selling heroin, cocaine, out of storefronts: prosecutors

PATERSON, N.J. — Alleged drug dealers from Passaic, Garfield and Belleville faced a judge today on charges they sold heroin, cocaine and marijuana out of businesses open to the public, such as bodegas, within the city of Passaic.

Investigators would not name specific businesses, but they stated more arrests are coming.

This six-month investigation resulted in the arrest of Raul Concepcion, 29; Pedro Mangual, 36; Leo Perez, 33; Sharif Irving, 35; and Persio Lora, 22.

Concepcion pleaded with a judge today to release him pending trial.

“I’m not plotting to get released and run,” he told Superior Court Judge Joseph Portelli he wanted to say a proper goodbye to his family in case he goes to prison. “I’m willing to take whatever punishment comes, when it comes. But all I’m asking for with the release is just to spend some time with my family.”

Concepcion and the others could face over 30 years in prison, if convicted on all the charges.

Investigators said the group was selling an estimated 100 grams of heroin and 100 grams of cocaine per week, along with 15 pounds of marijuana.

An assistant prosecutor told the judge that investigators wire-tapped Concepcion in order to listen in on his plans to pick up and drop off supply. His defense attorney, Alan Liebowitz, retorted that Concepcion was simply referring to song lyrics.

Concepcion’s family members were in the court room for his detention hearing, including his mother. An assistant prosecutor accused her of helping her son to count $50,000 in cash profit from the operation at her kitchen table. Investigators also found a gun hidden in her home.

Concepcion and Sharif Irving are being held at the county jail pending trial. Defendants Pedro Mangual, Leo Perez and Persio Lora were released and will be monitored until trial.