IT WAS A FAMILY affair on Sheridan Street in Camden, authorities allege, with brothers, sisters, uncles and cousins all pitching in together to peddle heroin, cocaine and crack.
The FBI, along with local and county law-enforcement agencies, paid a visit to Sheridan Street and the surrounding Whitman Park neighborhood early yesterday, rounding up 16 alleged members of two large drug rings and filing charges against six others who were either already in custody or at large. The bust, authorities said, was the largest in Camden in a decade.
"Today, the good guys have firmly planted a flag in the ground," Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson said at a morning news conference.
Most of the suspects, according to an FBI affidavit, had been arrested before for the same thing, in the same neighborhood, but the lure of drug sales was too hard to resist. The groups, according to the FBI, were led by Efraim Rivera, 33. His cousins Raymond Roldan, 38, and Jerome "Ant" Ramos, 33, were named as alleged leaders of the "Rivera" organization and the "Sheridan Street" organization. A Philadelphia man, Bryan Falu, 26, was charged with being one of their major cocaine suppliers.
Three handguns were recovered during the arrests. Although no specific acts of violence were alleged, authorities said the investigation is ongoing.