2007 New Jersey Office of the Attorney General Annual Report

 

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2007 annual report anne milgram attorney general of new jersey

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oag annual report overview dear governor corzine members of the state legislature and citizens of new jersey staffed by approximately 9,400 employees the department of law and public safety is a unique agency with a challenging mission by statute it serves both as new jersey s chief law enforcement agency and as the principal provider of legal advice to departments and agencies of state government in its role as the state s chief provider of law enforcement services the department conducts criminal investigations carries out crime prevention and anti-bias initiatives and operates roundthe-clock state police patrols in its role as chief legal adviser to entities of state government the department provides legal counsel defends state statutes and initiates lawsuits aimed at protecting new jersey s citizens and vital resources but our duties do not end there the department is responsible for informing and protecting new jersey consumers it is responsible for preserving and promoting civil rights it is responsible for ensuring the integrity of our state s legalized casino gaming and horse racing industries it regulates the sale of alcoholic beverages and leads the fight to reduce such threats to public safety as underage drinking and driving while intoxicated perhaps most significantly the department is responsible for protecting new jersey citizens from such threats as gun violence drug trafficking and illegal street gang activity in short millions of lives each day are touched by the work of the department of law and public safety in 2007 the department ­ through its divisions of criminal justice and state police ­ dealt significant blows to the leadership of such criminal gangs as the nine trey and sex money murder sets of the bloods in all more than 175 members or associates of these violent and highlyorganized gangs were arrested for racketeering drug-related offenses illegal possession of weapons and other crimes the division of criminal justice working with technical assistance from state police also broke up a multi-billion-dollar illegal gambling ring operated by the lucchese organized crime family of new york the illicit gambling ring appears to have been bankrolling smuggling activities by an imprisoned leader of the bloods a state prison guard who allegedly aided in the smuggling effort was among those arrested the division also filed corruption-related criminal charges against more than 50 public officials in 2007 including a major-city mayor and a former police chief in addition the division obtained trial convictions or guilty pleas in several high-profile corruption prosecutions including cases involving a former state commerce commission official a municipal mayor from salem county and a former police detective in camden city each of the individuals convicted faces state prison time or has already been sentenced to it in the ongoing effort to keep sexual predators from exploiting internet users ­ particularly young people ­ our department subpoenaed information from myspace and other social networking web sites in 2007 to determine whether convicted sex offenders had created profiles on those sites in the case of myspace alone we established that 268 new jersey sex offenders had logged onto myspace 34,000 times during the time they were registered with the site which ranged from a few months to two years as a result of the department s actions the myspace accounts of known sex offenders were deleted 7 0 1

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new jersey office of the attorney general · department of law public safety meanwhile the office of insurance fraud prosecutor continued to obtain criminal convictions jail sentences and stiff financial penalties against those who submitted bogus claims to insurance companies or otherwise took part in insurance fraud the oifp obtained approximately 200 criminal fraud convictions in 2007 and obtained $9.6 million in criminal and civil penalties and restitution in addition the oifp charged a total of more than 200 new defendants with insurance fraud through a variety of efforts our division of law continued its work to protect new jersey s air land and water working with the department of environmental protection the division filed more than 35 new natural resource damage nrd lawsuits in 2007 nrd lawsuits are designed to obtain compensation for the state for contamination-related loss of use of vital land and water resources as of this writing the division has a total of 106 nrd lawsuits pending in some phase of litigation the division also litigated more than 25 major enforcement actions on behalf of dep in 2007 and negotiated a number of settlements favorable to the environment for example the division joined with seven other states and the federal government in reaching a $4.6 billion settlement with american electric power aep the settlement resolved an eight-year-old lawsuit that alleged violations of the federal clean air act at nine coal-fired power plants in the states of ohio west virginia virginia and indiana in addition to substantially cutting back on sulfur-dioxide emissions aep will pay $60 million in mitigation project funds to new jersey the other states and the federal government the state police achieved a milestone in 2007 by gaining accreditation from a nationally-respected credentialing authority ­ the commission on accreditation of law enforcement agencies the accreditation came after an intensive two-year review of facilities equipment procedures and personnel it places our state police among an elite group of law enforcement agencies nationwide that have met the commission s high standard for best practices the division of consumer affairs is currently implementing a plan to increase the quality professionalism and diligence of the 42 professional licensing boards under its supervision at the same time the division provided vital protection for consumers through random product inspections such as the ones that found contaminated topps brand meats still on store shelves weeks after topps announced a recall and the inspections that discovered lead-tainted nationally-recalled toys still for sale in some retail outlets as the holiday shopping season began our newly-created affirmative litigation section launched an investigation in 2007 into whether pharmaceutical maker amgen inc violated patient confidentiality laws and promoted its injectable drug enbrel for non-approved uses the principal focus of our review is whether amgen engaged in off-label marketing ­ essentially promoting a drug for uses other than those for which it was approved ­ and whether the company violated medical privacy laws for the purpose of direct marketing the affirmative litigation section is organized under the division of law although it utilizes investigative resources from the division of consumer affairs as well its goal is to pursue cases vital to the public interest including those focused on issues involving corporate governance labor and fair wage practices and health-industry-related matters in a matter important to the integrity of the casino industry our division of gaming enforcement obtained the largest civil penalty in new jersey gaming history ­ $750,000 ­ following a review by the division of gaming enforcement of a merger involving prospective casino licensee wimar tahoe corporation the casino control commission subsequently denied wimar a license on integrity grounds based on the division s findings the new jersey racing commission successfully oversaw the hosting of the breeder s cup ­ the nationally-recognized superbowl of horse racing ­ at monmouth park racetrack in freehold in 2007 the culmination of more than a year of work and planning by our racing commission in collaboration with other entities the breeder s cup attracted upwards of 70,000 patrons and featured record-setting purse awards the breeder s cup coincided with the racing commission s introduction of tough new testing requirements to detect epogen and other blood-doping performance-enhancing drugs in race horses the new testing protocols are a crucial deterrent to the use of drugs which left unchecked would threaten the health of horses and compromise the integrity of the sport the department also dealt affirmatively with an emerging national issue in 2007 when it disseminated an attorney general s directive dealing with the question of when police in new jersey can and cannot inquire as to a person s immigration status the directive made clear that police are 2

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oag annual report overview not to inquire about the immigration status of any individual who has been victimized or who is attempting to assist police in their investigation of a crime in line with our commitment to even-handed treatment of all persons and vigorous enforcement of anti-discrimination laws our division on civil rights successfully prosecuted several cases that reinforced the message that discrimination will not be tolerated as a result of dcr s actions a trenton-area restaurant was ordered to pay substantial back wages and emotional distress damages to two young african-american men who were repeatedly referred to by the n-word while on the job in addition two individual landlords and a north jersey real estate agency were required to pay costs to the state to settle cases involving discriminatory housing-for-rent ads placed on the internet through our division of highway traffic safety the department provided overtime grant funding to upwards of 200 local police agencies in new jersey participating in a national over the limit under arrest crackdown on impaired driving meanwhile through our nationally-recognized last drink initiative we began compiling information on where those arrested for driving under the influence did their drinking as of year s end our division of alcoholic beverage control had catalogued nearly 1,500 last drink reports from local police agencies these reports help us to identify potential problem bars or restaurants and help us to focus our investigation efforts new jersey is a diverse state of 8 million people that serves as a global transportation hub and as a center of manufacturing research international trade agriculture higher education and tourism the challenge of protecting such a populous and vital state both in terms of its neighborhoods and its infrastructure is a complex and multi-faceted one working closely with the state office of homeland security ­ and employing the capabilities of our $28 million state-police-managed regional operations and intelligence center roic ­ the department continued in 2007 to play a lead role in domestic preparedness planning and disaster management efforts designed to protect all new jersey residents the department also continued to work closely with governor corzine and local stakeholders on developing and implementing the governor s plan to reduce crime and violence across new jersey the anti-crime plan involves three key components pro-active law enforcement crime prevention strategies and efforts to help those who have been incarcerated to re-enter society as productive law-abiding citizens the enforcement component focuses on blending traditional street-level police work with cutting-edge technology to attack violent crime gang activity and illegal guns community outreach and cooperation among law enforcement agencies are hallmarks of the plan as are intelligence-led data-driven policing strategies aimed at mapping crime trends and pinpointing violence hot spots the bedrock of the crime plan s prevention aspect meanwhile is a blend of locally-based and statelevel programs that provide alternatives to delinquency gang-involvement drugs and crime the third phase of the program ­ re-entry ­ involves a comprehensive approach to fighting recidivism and giving former inmates a chance to succeed by providing help in the areas of education substance abuse treatment housing health care and employment the department worked to improve the quality of life in new jersey by taking gang members drugs and firearms off the streets prosecuting public corruption combating insurance fraud pursuing litigation to protect our state s natural resources ensuring that retailers did not sell contaminated products and keeping sex offenders away from social networking web sites among many other accomplishments looking ahead we remain committed to working both on our own and in collaboration with other agencies and community stakeholders to fight crime and make new jersey as safe a place to live work and travel in as possible anne milgram attorney general 7 0 3

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new jersey office of the attorney general · department of law public safety 4

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table of contents division of criminal justice 6 division of state police 12 division of law 16 division of comsumer affairs 20 division on civil rights 24 division of highway traffic safety 28 division of alcoholic beverage control 32 division of gaming enforcement 36 racing commission 40 juvenile justice commission 44 7 0 5

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new jersey office of the attorney general · department of law public safety division of criminal justice new jersey s unified integrated system of law enforcement is unique in the nation the criminal justice act of 1970 designated the attorney general as the chief law enforcement officer of the state the division of criminal justice on behalf of the attorney general is charged with responsibility to enforce the criminal laws of the state and serve a variety of functions pertaining to the administration of criminal justice in addition to its direct law enforcement operations the division provides oversight and coordination within new jersey s law enforcement community it is the goal of the division to help coordinate law enforcement efforts and resources at all levels ­ state county and municipal ­ to ensure the safety and security of all new jersey residents 6

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division of criminal justice new priorities turning up heat on gangs organized crime corruption on dec 18 2007 attorney general milgram and division director gregory a paw announced the culmination of operation heat a 15-month investigation by the division that uncovered a multi-billion dollar gambling operation run by the lucchese new york crime family as well as an alarming alliance between old-school organized crime and new-school organized crime in the form of the bloods street gang it is charged that the lucchese family was providing financing for an imprisoned leader of the nine trey gangster set of the bloods to smuggle heroin cocaine marijuana and prepaid cell phones into east jersey state prison through a corrupt corrections officer among the 32 arrested were the gang leader edwin spears ­ who is an alleged top-ranking five-star general in the violent bloods set ­ the prison guard michael t bruinton and 27 members and associates of the lucchese crime family including two out of three members of its ruling panel in new york ­ joseph dinapoli and matthew madonna ­ and its top capo in new jersey ralph v perna operation heat with its combined elements of gangs organized crime and corruption is emblematic of the new priorities that the division of criminal justice pursued in 2007 at the close of 2006 the division had been reorganized to direct greater resources to fighting public corruption and gangs targeting public corruption the division charged more than 50 public officials in 2007 for alleged corrupt activities in july attorney general milgram and u.s attorney christopher j christie announced the indictment of former newark mayor sharpe james in a joint prosecution by the u.s attorney s office and the division of criminal justice james was charged with using city issued credit cards to spend lavishly on himself eight female companions and others during vacations to such places as martha s vineyard rio de janeiro the dominican republic and puerto rico the indictment also charged that james as mayor and state senator facilitated and approved sales of city-owned properties at cut-rate prices to companion tamika riley through a redevelopment program riley who also was charged made more than $500,000 by quickly selling or flipping the properties at much higher prices without any rehabilitation in july the division indicted former clayton police chief frank winters and his wife on charges they stole more than $150,000 from mothers against drunk driving frank and bernice winters allegedly funneled money from madd to two companies they owned holiday house and lasting impact for promotional items like pens and key chains that were never actually ordered or delivered in november frank winters was charged in a new indictment with stealing from the borough and police department by billing for fictitious purchases for the police from holiday house and by stealing a digital camcorder and camera he bought for the police in november the division charged four jersey city municipal court judges with official misconduct for taking judicial action on parking or traffic tickets ­ or in one instance soliciting a fellow judge to take action ­ in cases where the ticket was issued to the judge a relative a friend or a colleague in some cases tickets were dismissed or fines reduced in march the former principal of h.b wilson elementary school in camden michael hailey and his top administrator patricia johnson were indicted by the division on charges they stole $14,000 from students and teachers by 7 0 7

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new jersey office of the attorney general · department of law public safety tricking them into paying for field trips already paid for by the district they also were charged with conspiring with another principal and a teacher in an attempt to bill the district more than $25,000 in overtime wages for eight school leadership council meetings that were never held johnson has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and attempted theft by deception the division s corruption bureau had significant trial victories including the july conviction by a mercer county jury of former state commerce commission chief of staff lesly devereaux on charges of official misconduct and misapplication of government property for misusing state employees to run her private law practice while at the commerce commission in addition devereaux pleaded guilty in october to falsifying records for drafting two false recusal letters purporting to exclude her from taking part in commerce s hiring of her mother and sister as paid consultants she also pleaded guilty to theft by deception for obtaining more than $500 in food stamps by filing an application that failed to report her true income devereaux was sentenced to 6 ½ years in state prison in december former carneys point mayor john mack lake was found guilty in a bench trial of official misconduct and bribery for attempting to bribe his opponent to drop out of the race for township committee in 2006 in another noteworthy division corruption case former camden police officer michael anthony hearne pleaded guilty in september to official misconduct for providing a loaded handgun for a second man to use to rob a drug dealer in exchange for a share of the robbery proceeds hearne faces a seven-year prison sentence 8

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division of criminal justice combating gangs organized crime in 2007 the division s gangs organized crime bureau ­ in partnership with the new jersey state police and other law enforcement agencies ­ arrested more than 175 defendants and filed charges against another 56 in addition to operation heat the division concluded a number of investigations targeted at street gangs and other criminal enterprises the division of criminal justice the state police and other law enforcement agencies arrested and subsequently indicted 34 members of the violent sex money murder set of the bloods including the set s three top leaders in new jersey its two trenton-area leaders and five men charged in connection with two murders in long branch the division also indicted 46 members of the nine trey set of the bloods including its top leaders on first-degree racketeering and other charges stemming from a joint investigation with the state police in january the division and state police arrested and charged alleged ringleader mohamed hassanain and nearly 20 other members of a newark-based based narcotics ring that distributed millions of dollars a year in illegal prescription painkillers such as oxycontin the defendants were subsequently indicted by the division and dr mario comesanas pleaded guilty to racketeering and distribution of narcotics for writing thousands of fraudulent prescriptions for the ring the doctor faces a state prison sentence of 15 years and forfeited $600,000 in cash seized in his home in november attorney general milgram and director paw announced charges against the leader andrew micali and 22 other participants in a sports bookmaking ring that operated inside the borgata hotel casino poker room and took in more than $22 million in bets in 20 months the charges stemmed from an investigation dubbed operation high roller that was led by the new jersey state police and division of criminal justice with assistance from 11 other law enforcement agencies in new jersey and pennsylvania six casino employees were charged including two poker room supervisors and two dealers at the borgata as well as a tropicana poker room supervisor other significant division cases melanie mcguire in a case that garnered national media attention melanie mcguire was convicted at trial and sentenced to life in prison for the 2004 shooting death of her husband william mcguire whose severed remains were found in three suitcases along the virginia coast the trial attorneys assistant attorney general patricia prezioso and deputy attorney general christopher romanyshyn were supported by a team of investigators from the state police and division of criminal justice as well as experts from the office of the state medical examiner $11.5 million energy rebate ripoff the division obtained guilty pleas from a former jcp&l manager and a company consultant in connection with a theft of $11.5 million from a state energy rebate program the manager harold stamateris was sentenced to 10 years in prison and the consultant anant patel was sentenced to 15 years the men admitted they conspired to obtain $11.5 million in payments for bogus or inflated applications under the new jersey smart start buildings program which offers rebates to companies that install more efficient lighting or hvac systems a third man was sentenced to three years probation for assisting in the scheme environmental crimes bureau the environmental crimes bureau obtained 11 indictments and accusations in 2007 charging a total of 14 defendants the bureau obtained more than $1.3 million in fines in restitution in april the ecb finalized a civil settlement in which chevron agreed to pay $1 million for spilling more than 10,000 gallons of crude oil into the arthur kill in 2006 7 0 9

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new jersey office of the attorney general · department of law public safety the settlement directed the funds to ny/nj baykeeper for a project to reestablish oyster beds in the new york/new jersey harbor in the area of the arthur kill and raritan bay in july the ecb indicted seymour berkowitz the owner of a newark meat plant and his companies on charges related to the release of contaminated wastewater and foul odors from the plant and their failure to maintain required pollution control equipment in august the bureau indicted a southampton contractor james e haas jr on charges he falsified documents to make it appear that truckloads of contaminated soil from a state bridge project in trenton were taken to an approved landfill when he actually dumped them at a farm in burlington county tax/financial fraud cases the division indicted and obtained guilty pleas from rosa victoria rivera and her former boyfriend john arturo perez silva for stealing $828,000 from the state of new jersey by filing fraudulent state tax returns in an unrelated case the division indicted six jersey city residents on charges they stole $573,000 from the state by filing bogus homestead rebate applications in a third case the coowners of an investment firm that offered specialized financial services for podiatrists jeffrey scott lafferty and vincella l ross were indicted on first-degree conspiracy and money laundering charges for stealing more than $500,000 from clients and was ordered to pay more than $2.2 million in restitution and fines dr martin weinstein a podiatrist was sentenced to five years in prison for electronically submitting more than $250,000 in claims for services never rendered oifp extradited weinstein from the dominican republic where he fled after being indicted in addition oifp obtained its first criminal conviction based on a defendant s violation of contract restrictions dr gary reba a licensed dentist falsified dates on which services were provided to avoid contractual date restrictions in patients insurance policies reba pleaded guilty to theft by deception and falsifying records following a 14-day jury trial ademola salami a licensed pharmacist and his business bethel pharmacy inc were convicted of health care claims fraud and medicaid fraud for submitting thousands of dollars in fraudulent prescription claims to the medicaid program in another case the owners and operators of touch of life home health agency were indicted on charges of conspiracy health care claims fraud and medicaid fraud for allegedly submitting approximately $1 million in fraudulent medicaid claims in addition pedro acosta and osvaldo morales sr owners of chambers mental health clinic a now-defunct drug and alcohol counseling center and its former medical director dr arnold jacques were indicted on charges they fraudulently billed medicaid more than $160,000 another co-owner pleaded guilty to medicaid fraud in another major pip mill case irwin b seligsohn and his law firm goldberger seligsohn shinrod pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and 10 co-defendants were sentenced in connection with a scheme to pay runners to solicit phony auto accident clients and stage accidents so the firm could increase its personal injury practice oifp also successfully prosecuted corrupt police officers former hamilton township sergeant jeffrey nemes was convicted at trial of offering bribes to chiefs of several volunteer fire departments to delay their response time and enhance damage at fire scenes so as to office of insurance fraud prosecutor in 2007 oifp charged 218 defendants and sent defendants to jail for a total of more than 146 years indictments were up 19 percent oifp obtained fines judgments penalties and restitution orders totaling more than $12.7 million and imposed 753 civil insurance fraud sanctions during 2007 oifp successfully resolved several significant medical provider fraud cases dr juan carlos fischberg pleaded guilty to health care claims fraud for running an illegal pip mill where patient records and test results were falsified to bill 17 auto insurers for millions of dollars in personal injury protection claims he was sentenced to three years in state prison 10

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division of criminal justice increase property damage claims and potential profits for nemes construction business nemes was sentenced to eight years in prison in another case nine defendants including two police officers were sentenced for their roles in a staged accident insurance fraud scam marco rebelo owner of creative auto body and an accomplice eli vasquez received state prison sentences totaling nine years former plainfield police officer samad abdel and former borough of roselle police officer john a smith pleaded guilty to official misconduct the nine defendants must pay a total of more than $200,000 in restitution and $155,000 in fines 7 0 other initiatives dna database the division s codis compliance unit and the state police office of forensic sciences through its forensic science technology center in hamilton continued to rapidly expand new jersey s dna database adding more than 20,000 samples this year the database now has more than 173,000 samples more critically there were 893 hits or matches in 2007 which more than doubled the cumulative hits since 2003 to a total of 1,451 the 2007 hits solved or assisted law enforcement in investigating approximately 800 crimes including 188 sex offenses 354 burglaries 49 homicides 78 robberies and 74 thefts medical examiner s office the office of the state medical examiner gained a new leader in march 2007 with the appointment of acting state medical examiner dr victor w weedn dr weedn is a renowned pioneer in forensic dna victim identification who established the military s dna identification program weedn has published more than 80 articles in forensic pathology and criminalistics and has served on the boards of leading professional journals and associations weedn developed national accreditation standards for medical examiner offices and has led strategic planning for the national association of medical examiners for the past decade the office s extensive caseload in 2007 included critical assistance in the murder trial of melanie mcguire 11

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new jersey office of the attorney general · department of law public safety division of state police founded in 1921 the new jersey state police is a diverse agency with a complex and everevolving mission members of the state police work to protect the general public by providing statewide police services including highway and marine patrols criminal investigation and enforcement intelligence gathering disaster management homeland-security-related initiatives emergency medical transport forensic science laboratory services maintenance of criminal records and crime data and much more the state police is organized into various sections that provide for intensified focus on such areas as street crime and violence operations drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime intelligence disaster response emergency management and domestic preparedness homeland security the state police employs traditional law enforcement strategies in conjunction with new 12

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division of state police approaches and cutting-edge technology to most effectively deal with such threats as illegal drug distribution violent street gang activity official corruption internet predators identity theft and casino crime among many others additional information about the state police is available at www.njsp.org calea accreditation state police achieved a milestone in 2007 by gaining accreditation from a nationally-respected credentialing authority ­ the commission on accreditation of law enforcement agencies the accreditation came after an intensive two-year review of facilities equipment procedures and personnel it places the state police among an elite group of law enforcement agencies nationwide that have met the commission s high standard for best practices in hundreds of categories calea standards accreditation was achieved in less than two years calea is an independent international accrediting authority created by the international association of chiefs of police the national organization of black law enforcement executives the national sheriffs association and the police executive research forum operation dawgpound in conjunction special investigations/intelligence operation bloodwork because of an increase in violent crimes within the borough of glassboro state police and the glassboro police department launched a cooperative investigation intended to identify those responsible for the surge of violence as a result of these efforts several individuals and street gang sets closely aligned with the bloods street gang were identified as operating in the glassboro area these gang sets were actively recruiting potential members while simultaneously trying to control local drug and firearm distribution networks on september 28 2007 state troopers and local police investigators acted on four search warrants targeting residences in glassboro based on evidence obtained through the investigation as well as evidence confiscated during execution of the search warrants 11 alleged members and/or associates of the bloods were charged with crimes related to drug distribution and the sale of firearms with a separate but related investigation dubbed operation sex money murder the operation dawgpound investigation resulted in dismantling of the leadership of the sex money murder set of the bloods street gang in new jersey operation dawgpound resulted in the arrest of 61 ranking members of the sex money murder set the investigation spanned six counties and required the coordinated efforts of law enforcement officers from several local county and federal agencies operation centerfield on january 25 2007 state and federal authorities arrested 14 individuals in new jersey and arizona capping a 10-month investigation search warrants were also executed in gloucester camden and burlington counties resulting in the confiscation of 15 lbs of powder cocaine 10 lbs of crack cocaine $244,000 cash two handguns and a shotgun those arrested were charged with possession of cocaine possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribution cocaine operation centerfield had its roots in a state-police-initiated effort ­ done in collaboration with other agencies ­ that targeted a large-scale narcotics network distributing multi-kilogram amounts of cocaine and crystal methamphetamine in the philadelphia/south jersey region the investigation revealed that motor vehicles equipped with highly sophisticated hydraulic traps capable of storing 100 kilogramsized packages of drugs were being used to transport the cocaine and methamphetamine into the region operation high roller in november 2007 the state police casino unit working in collaboration with the division of criminal justice the division of gaming enforcement the pennsylvania attorney general s office the borgata hotel/casino security department and nine other law enforcement agencies charged 23 people with offenses related to an illegal sports betting operation the statepolice-led investigation revealed that known 7 0 13

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