A multi-agency drug bust operation in Trenton, New Jersey, culminated with a grand jury handing down indictments of 19 people, New Jersey Attorney General Christopher Porrino announced Friday.
Dubbed "Operation Maple Empire," the large scale investigation targeted the alleged leader of the drug ring, 42-year-old Shawn Davis of Trenton.
“We allege that Davis was a major heroin supplier, as revealed by the 358 bricks of heroin – or nearly 18,000 doses – seized from his car as he returned from a weekly drug run to Newark,” said Attorney General Porrino. “The allegations make clear that Davis was fueling a staggering amount of addiction each week, and by shutting him down, the (New Jersey) state police and their partners undoubtedly saved lives.”
The charges Davis faces for leading the organization could carry a life sentence.
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The state said Davis traveled to Newark at least once a week to obtain the drugs he would then supply to several dealers under him who would then distribute to lower drug dealers and into the community.
Also facing first-degree charges in the indictments are 24-year-old Tracy Edwards, 37-year-old Tamica Freemand and 48-year-old William Holzendorf.
Officials said Freeman was in the car with Davis when the two were stopped and arrested on May 10. The two allegedly had 358 bricks of heroin and $8,000 in the car. A search of Davis' home turned up 600 grams of cocaine. and a handgun, the state said.
The state accused Edwards as serving as one of the primary distributors under Davis.
In all, the state-police led bust seized more than 500 "bricks" or 25,000 doses of heroin along with three handguns and 2/3 a kilogram of cocaine.
“Davis and the members of this alleged ring profited from the illicit drug trade that has infected our communities and torn families apart,” Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said. “The indictments of these violent gang members represent another step towards preventing these highly addictive and potentially deadly opioids from reaching our neighborhoods.”