TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced the arrests of eight individuals as part of an investigation targeting narcotics and weapons trafficking in Camden.Those arrested include a father and daughter who allegedly supplied narcotics to drug dealers; five alleged members of a drug set that sold large quantities of heroin in South Camden; and an alleged gun trafficker who sold seven firearms, including military style weapons.
The arrests stem from a collaborative, multi-agency investigation led by the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, in collaboration with the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Camden County Police Department, New Jersey State Police, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations.
“While this investigation targeted three criminal enterprises, there was one vital goal— to make residents safer by removing deadly weapons and drugs from the streets of Camden,” said Attorney General Grewal. “Each part of this investigation exposed criminals ruthlessly profiting by putting the community in danger in the midst of a global pandemic: from an alleged father-daughter team of narcotics suppliers, to a drug set selling heroin in South Camden, to an alleged gun trafficker using social media to market handguns and military style weapons.We will continue to work collaboratively with our law enforcement partners to shut down violent criminal organizations.”
Father-Daughter Drug Suppliers
Harold Thomas, 49, of Hammonton, N.J., and his daughter, Natyra Thomas, 22, of Camden, N.J., allegedly supplied illegal drugs to multiple drug dealers in Camden.Both father and daughter are charged with second-degree conspiracy to distribute narcotics.Natyra Thomas is also charged with first-degree distribution of cocaine, second-degree distribution of fentanyl, second-degree distribution of narcotics within 500 feet of a public park, and the following third-degree charges: possession of fentanyl, possession of cocaine, and distribution of narcotics in a school zone.
Sheridan Street Drug Set
Kwanie Taylor, 39, of Camden, N.J., allegedly owns and operates a drug set supplied by the Thomases in the vicinity of the 1100 block of Sheridan Street in South Camden. Rajon Russell, 18, and his brother, Drekwon J. Wayne, 26, both of Camden, N.J., allegedly serve as managers of the set.This drug set markets its heroin in wax folds stamped with the brand name “Royal,” which has been linked to one fatal and four nonfatal overdoses between October 2019 and June 2020. Anthony Little, 64, and Wade Moore, 62, both of Camden, N.J., allegedly worked on the drug set. Investigators seized a handgun and over 1,100 wax folds of heroin stamped with the “Royal” brand when they executed a search warrant at the residence of Taylor on Jackson Street on June 16, when the arrests were made in this investigation.
All five alleged members of the Sheridan Street drug set are charged with second-degree conspiracy to distribute heroin.Taylor is also charged with second-degree possession of heroin with intent to distribute, second-degree possession of a weapon as a convicted felon, and second-degree possession of a weapon while committing a drug offense. Russell, Wayne, Little, and Moore are charged with third-degree possession of heroin, and Russell, Wayne, and Little are charged with third-degree distribution of heroin.
Enrique “Neff” Alfonso, 28, of Camden, N.J., allegedly is a weapons trafficker who used a popular social networking service to conduct illegal firearms sales.During the course of the investigation, he allegedly sold the following firearms illegally in Camden:
Alfonso is charged with second-degree possession of a weapon as a convicted felon, two counts of second-degree unlawful possession of an assault rifle, five counts of second-degree illegal possession of a handgun, two counts of third-degree unlawful disposition of an assault rifle, five counts of fourth-degree unlawful disposition of a weapon, and fourth-degree possession of a large-capacity magazine.
“This investigation is an excellent example of doggedly following the evidence wherever it leads so as to expose additional criminal activity and achieve the maximum impact when arrests are made,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “Every aspect of this multifaceted investigation will enhance safety and security for the people of Camden by eliminating significant sources of dangerous drugs and weapons.”
“Getting automatic weapons, heroin and fentanyl off the streets of my home town is vital to the public good and to our overall safety. Furthermore, breaking up the narcotics distribution grid in South Camden will provide relief to the good people living alongside this activity who have been negatively impacted by this criminal network,” said Camden County Sheriff Gilbert (Whip) Wilson. “I want to thank the Attorney General and all of our partners in this operation that contributed to the successful arrest and dissolution of this criminal network.”
“This case highlights the hard work by the detectives and prosecutors despite the unique circumstances and added layers of risk they face in conducting these in-depth investigations during a pandemic,” said Acting Camden County Prosecutor Jill S. Mayer. “It takes solid communication and cooperation between agencies to arrest individuals who are reportedly involved in such an organized, illegal crime ring.Every drug supply chain broken, and illegal weapon taken off the streets, equates to lives saved in the city of Camden and elsewhere.”
“This operation drilled down on two critical issues in the city, getting illegal guns off the street and deconstructing a narcotics network that was selling poison in the Whitman Park neighborhood directly linked to several overdoses,” said Camden County Police Chief Joseph Wysocki. “I want to thank all of our law enforcement partners for assisting us as we continue to focus our efforts on stopping violent crime and making the city safer for the residents and families of Camden.”
“Anytime law enforcement is able to disrupt either the supply or distribution chain of narcotics or the flow of illegal weapons into our communities, lives are saved, and this operation took down all three,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “We will continue to aggressively pursue and dismantle violent criminal enterprises by working cooperatively with our local, state, and federal partners.”
“Narcotics and arms trafficking often work in tandem to wreak their havoc on communities,” said Jason Molina, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Newark and HSI Cherry Hill. “The only solution to this double threat is the combined efforts of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, which all acted in this case to take down both the drug and weapons operations in pinpointed efforts online and in the streets.”
AG Grewal commended all of the attorneys, detectives, officers, and agents who participated in the investigation for the Division of Criminal Justice, Camden County Sheriff’s Office, Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, Camden County Police Department, New Jersey State Police, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations.
Deputy Attorney General Katherine Morris is lead attorney for the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau, under the supervision of former Deputy Bureau Chief Erik Daab, Bureau Chief Lauren Scarpa Yfantis, and Deputy Division Director Annmarie Taggart. The lead detectives for the Division of Criminal Justice are Detective Brent Mitchell, Detective Dave Swanson, Detective Terry Shaw, and other members of the Gangs & Organized Crime South Squad, under the supervision of Sgt. Peppi Pichette, Deputy Chief of Detectives Brian Bruton, and Chief of Detectives Weldon Powell.
First-degree narcotics charges carry a sentence of 10 to 20 years in state prison and fine of up to $500,000.Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Possession of a weapon as a convicted felon carries a mandatory period of parole ineligibility of five years, and unlawful possession of a weapon carries a mandatory period of parole ineligibility equal to one-third to one-half of the sentence imposed or three years, whichever is greater.Any sentence imposed for second-degree possession of a weapon while committing a drug offense must be served consecutively to the sentence for any related drug offense. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000 – or $35,000 for drug charges – and fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in state prison and a $10,000 fine.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
For Taylor: Michael Kahn, Esq., Cherry Hill, N.J.
For Alfonso, Andaiye Al-Uqdah, Esq., Lawnside, N.J.
For Harold Thomas: Jeffrey Zucker, Esq., Zucker Steinberg & Wixted, Camden, N.J.
For Natyra Thomas: Michele Morgera, Esq., Greenblatt Pierce Funt and Flores, Camden, N.J.
The other defendants are currently represented by the Public Defender’s Office.