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24 people arrested in three-county drug bust
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24 people arrested in three-county drug bust

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"Operation Checkmate"

Twenty-four people were arrested as a result of a three-county drug investigation led by Ocean County.

Authorities arrested 24 people on drug charges last week in an investigation that spanned Ocean, Monmouth and Middlesex counties and New York City, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said Friday.

The three drug networks involved were responsible for the import of more than 3 kilograms of cocaine per week into the three New Jersey counties, Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said in a news release.

Authorities seized more than 4 kilograms of cocaine, 15 pounds of marijuana, $650,000 in U.S. currency, three handguns, three “ghost guns” and one pistol grip shotgun, 10 vehicles and additional drugs, Billhimer said.

The four-month-long investigation, known as “Operation Checkmate,” was conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Narcotics Strike Force and included the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, State Police and many other state, county and local law enforcement agencies, Billhimer said.

Among the local agencies participating were the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, Barnegat Township police, Ocean Township police and Stafford Township police.

Luis Feliz, 41, of New York, was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute cocaine and financial facilitation. He is in custody in New York City, pending extradition to New Jersey.

James “King James” Hemenway, 43, of Morganville, Monmouth County, was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession of MDMA with intent to distribute, possession of psilocybin mushrooms with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine, possession of psilocybin mushrooms, two counts of financial facilitation and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Dale McCord, 44, of Manalapan, Monmouth County, was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession of psilocybin mushrooms with intent to distribute, possession of psilocybin mushrooms, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a weapon during drug activity, certain person not to possess a firearm, three counts of possession of a large capacity magazine and two counts of financial facilitation.

Mark Capichana, 54, of Hazlet, Monmouth County, was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, maintaining or operating a drug production facility, possession of cocaine and financial facilitation.

Mark Kelber, 44, of Manalapan, was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, two counts of possession of marijuana, possession of oxandrolone, possession of trenbolone, possession of drostanalone, possession of mesternolone, possession of drug paraphernalia and certain person not to possess a firearm.

Andrew Contaldi, 47, of Brick Township, Ocean County, was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, six counts of distribution of cocaine, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and financial facilitation.

Andre Johnson, 45, of Freehold, Monmouth County, was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine, maintaining or operating a drug production facility, financial facilitation and witness tampering.

Brian Contey, 41, of Brick, was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Tyrone Finch, 36, of Parlin, Middlesex County, was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, financial facilitation, possession of a weapon during drug activity, certain person not to possess a firearm and possession of a large capacity magazine.

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With the exception of Feliz, all of the above suspects are being held in the Ocean County jail.

The following suspects were charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and released pending court:

Alex Johnson, 47, of Brick

George Sirleaf, 47, of Keyport, Monmouth County

Terrence Brown, 44, of Matawan, Monmouth County

Irene Patelaros, 46, of Morganville

John Dolan, 46, of Matawan

Shawn McCord, 25, of Matawan

Daniel Jeandron, 41, of Keyport

Alexander Nagy, 42, of Laurence Harbor, Middlesex County

John Sozomenou, 46, of Matawan

Joseph Horvath, 33, of Toms River

Christopher Lyons, 42, of Matawan

Robert Dazinski, 59, of Hazlet

Diana Roman-Porpora, 54, of Howell, Monmouth County

Bobbie Parsells, 42, of Keyport

Daniel Votapek, 36, of Point Pleasant, Ocean County

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