PAULSBORO, N.J. (WTXF) - Officials have arrested 21 suspects with operating what police are calling an extensive drug trafficking network based in Paulsboro, New Jersey.
A majority of the arrests were made Monday as a result of "Operation Red Raider."
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, commenting on the operation, said, "While we are working on multiple fronts to combat the opioid epidemic gripping New Jersey--including expanding programs like Operation Helping Hand to connect those suffering from addiction with treatment--we also are re-doubling our efforts to arrest and prosecute those profiting off others' addiction, like the alleged drug dealers arrested in this operation."
"With so many dying from overdoses of heroin and the super-potent opioid fentanyl, which is recklessly mixed with or substituted for heroin, dealers are really profiting at the expense of lives lost, families destroyed and communities devastated."
Since the start of 2018, there have been 49 fatal opioid overdoses in Gloucester County, compared to 69 for all of 2017, prosecutors said in a press release.
Detectives seized suspected narcotics, including more than 400 grams of cocaine, 200 grams of crystal methamphetamine, 120 grams of heroin, 356 Percocet pills, 50 grams of marijuana, in addition to two handguns, a sawed-off shotgun and $39,000 in cash.
The suspected heroin was capable of producing over 3,000 individual wax folds, the typical packaging for street sale to individual buyers. The suspected drugs are being analyzed by state police for the presence of fentanyl, which officials say plays a "large and complex role in the carnage of the opioid crisis."
The investigation began in fall 2017 to target the suspected drug ring near Spruce and Adam streets in Paulsboro, New Jersey, with officials identifying 31-year-old Duane Johns as its leader.
Johns' source for cocaine was identified as 35-year-old Darnell Samuels, of Wilmington, Delaware.
Duane Johns has been charged with being a leader of a narcotics trafficking network, distribution of cocaine and related offenses.
Samuels has been charged with first-degree possession and distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine, in addition to other drug-related offenses.
The following suspects have been identified and charged as members of the drug trafficking network targeted by Operation Red Raider: