County College Police Academy, Cedar Grove
- Attorney General Peter Harvey, New Jersey
State Police Superintendent Rick Fuentes
and Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow
today announced the arrest of numerous
individuals after an extensive investigation
dubbed Operation BrickHouse. The operation
exposed a direct connection between street-level
heroin sales by the Bloods street gang
and a Colombian cartel supplier.
investigation, began in September 2003,
resulted in the issuance of arrest warrants
for twenty-four individuals located in
New Jersey and New York. Operation BrickHouse
quickly escalated and identified large-scale
heroin distributors operating in the Essex
County area. These individuals were responsible
for distributing approximately one pound
of packaged heroin each week within Newark.
This heroin eventually made its way to
other locations within New Jersey including
New Brunswick, Asbury Park and Paterson.
will continue to reclaim our neighborhoods
from drug dealers, gang members and others
who threaten ordinary citizens,"
said Attorney General Harvey. "We
are committed to taking back the community
from criminals and we will continue to
vigorously investigate, flush out and
prosecute this menace in our communities."
are less concerned with photo opportunities
that show drugs on the table than we are
with dismantling criminal enterprises,"
said Colonel Fuentes. "The success
of Operation BrickHouse relied on the
time consuming process of building this
case from drug runners on the streets
to the major decision makers in criminal
investigation established a nexus between
street gangs, street level drug sales
and international drug cartels. It is
a well-known fact that profits from narcotics
sales are key to financing other illegal
activities." Fuentes added.
assuming the post of Acting Essex County
Prosecutor in 2003, I have targeted gang
and drug activity as a priority,"
said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Paula
Dow. "I remain committed to the dedication
of valuable resources to address this
burgeoning problem. The residents of the
Felix Fuld Houses deserve a decent quality
of life and safe place to live."
cooperatively with the East Orange and
Newark Police Departments, this investigation
initially targeted heroin sales by Bloods
members Ali McKinnon and Sharif Gillard.
McKinnon allegedly controlled heroin distribution
in and around the Felix Fuld Public Housing
Complex in Newark. The complex, also known
as "Little Bricks," is a public
housing complex rampant with violence
and drug distribution run by members of
the Bloods street gang.
Manuel Antonio Estevez of New York was
identified as a key supplier, selling
large amounts of packaged heroin to dealers
in Essex County. This same heroin was
eventually sold to Bloods street gang
members. Estevez has been arrested by
members of the New Jersey State Police
Street Gang Bureau and charged with being
the leader of a narcotic distribution
network, racketeering and conspiracy.
He is presently being held in the Essex
County Jail in lieu of $2.5 million bail.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
was a partner in Operation BrickHouse
and is looking into possibly expanding
the investigation. These companion investigations
identified a large, structured network
in which the raw heroin was processed
in Colombia, smuggled into the United
States, packaged in New York City and
made available to gang members in Newark.
New Jersey State Police would like
to acknowledge the other law enforcement
agencies that assisted in Operation BrickHouse.
These agencies include: The Drug Enforcement
Administration, Immigration and Customs
Enforcement Administration, United States
Marshal's Service, New Jersey Attorney
General's Office, the Division of Criminal
Justice, New York City Police Department,
Essex County Prosecutor's Office, Newark
Police Department, East Orange Police
Department and Tinton Falls Police Department.
following individuals have been have been
arrested this morning and charged with
racketeering, distribution of heroin and
following individuals were previously
arrested during “Operation BrickHouse”:
following individuals are currently incarcerated
and will be served with charges in jail:
- NY, NY
Manuel Antonio Estevez,
37 - NY, NY