Eighty people have been arrested since November 2008 in Gloucester County, most on weapons and drugs charges, in a statewide operation targeting gangs involved with illegal guns and narcotics, the county Prosector's Office announced yesterday.
In Camden County, the initiative has led to 958 arrests in 2009, according to the state Attorney General's Office. Figures for Burlington County were not available yesterday.
Nearly half of those arrested in Gloucester County were affiliated with the Arian Nation, La Familia, Bloods, Pagans, or Latin Kings gangs and had a history of violence, Prosecutor Sean Dalton said.
The state Attorney General's Office launched the initiative in June 2008 with Burlington, Camden and Gloucester among the original participating counties. Since then, the program has expanded to all 21 New Jersey counties and has federal cooperation, said David Wald, a spokesman for the office. The number of arrests statewide was not available, he said.
The Gloucester arrests were made following months of undercover surveillance and drug purchases, according to Dalton. Since the program's inception, 140 people have been charged.
Among them is Glassboro resident Terrance Rothmiller, 24, who allegedly sold three firearms to undercover agents before he was arrested Sept. 2. He also was charged with possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute after agents confiscated almost 31 pounds of the drug, which authorities said was valued at $450,000.
The most recent arrest came on Dec. 3, when Julio Colon of Deptford was charged with possession of a 9mm Ruger handgun and 228 bags of heroin, officials said.
Over the last year, authorities have confiscated about 260 pounds of marijuana, which they said was worth $300,000; $235,000 in cash allegedly netted from illegal drug deals; and 24 guns.
"Our detectives are involved with operations both inside as well as outside the county to help stem the flow of illegal drugs and weapons into Gloucester County," Dalton said.
More than 20 municipal, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies worked with county investigators, including agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Marshal's Task Force; the Gloucester County Sheriff's Office; and various township police departments.