UNION COUNTY – Two reputed high-ranking members of a drug distribution ring remained at large Monday after authorities arrested 15 people allegedly connected to the ring over the weekend, according to Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow.
Authorities arrested 15 people, recovered more than 3 kilograms of cocaine, $80,577 in cash and several guns, including an AK-47 assault rifle, during a series of raids that began last Thursday and continued through Sunday, officials said. Each kilogram of cocaine has a street value of about $350,000.
As of Monday, six suspects were still at large. They included high-ranking members Luqman Abdullah of Elizabeth and Darrell Brignolle of Linden, Romankow said.
Abdullah and Brignolle are both considered dangerous and Romankow advised anyone who comes in contact with them to call the Union County Crimestoppers at (908) 654-TIPS. There is a $5,000 reward per suspect for information leading to their arrest and indictment.
According to Romankow, investigators raided several sites in Union and Essex counties as part of Operation Red Zone. Among the locations was an apartment on Chancellor Avenue in Newark that held “nothing but drugs, guns and the equipment necessary to cut and process cocaine,” Romankow said.
“That was significant because it was a stash house where the drugs were cut up and distributed,” Romankow said. Sixteen bricks of heroin with a street value of $18,000 also were found, Romankow said. The prosecutor said the ring put at least two kilos of cocaine on the streets every week.
“There was a significant amount of cocaine and heroin coming into Essex and Union counties,” he said.
A number of law enforcement agencies participated in the operation, including the FBI, New Jersey State Police, the Union County Police Department and the Elizabeth, Roselle Park, Linden, Springfield, Westfield and Clark police departments.
“They have a network,” FBI special agent Aaron Ford said of the alleged drug dealers. “We have a network as well.”