Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2013 2:23 pm
By ANJALEE KHEMLANI, Staff Writer
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State and federal authorities announced the shutdown of an international drug ring based in Jamaica which included two Vineland residents being arrested and charged in March.
The investigation, “Operation Next Day Air,” began in March 2011 to track large quantities of cocaine being shipped through public delivery services, police said.
Nine individuals have been arrested in connection with the operation, including Angel Rivera, 35, and Juan Cortez, 41, of Vineland, police said.
The Drug Enforcement Agency and the New Jersey State Police documented meetings involving the transfer of multiple kilograms of cocaine between four Jersey residents.
One of those residents, Marsha Bernard, of Cherry Hill, was seen delivering one kilogram of cocaine to the two Vineland residents, which the two hid in a secret compartment of Rivera’s vehicle, police said. A stolen handgun was recovered at a later time from Rivera’s residence.
In total, detectives recovered more than 26 kilograms of cocaine, worth approximately $780,000, two handguns, and more than $600,000 in cash, police said.
Bernard, 28, was charged as a leader of the organization, along with Andrew Davis, 34, of Kingston, Jamaica, and his brother Kemar Davis, 22, of Hollywood, Calif.
Rivera and Cortez were arrested and charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Both were taken to Camden County Jail and bail is set at $350,000.
“This investigation gradually uncovered a complicated puzzle of money and drugs, and locked up the people responsible for injecting large drug shipments into our communities,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
The investigation was completed by the state police, DEA, U.S. Marshal’s Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office, Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, Cherry Hill and Los Angeles police departments and Division of Criminal Justice.