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December 24, 09

NEWS / Seven Indicted in Ring That Distributed Cocaine in Long Branch

TRENTON – Attorney General Anne Milgram announced that seven men were indicted as alleged members of a drug ring that distributed large amounts of cocaine in Long Branch.

According to Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni, a state grand jury indictment was returned yesterday and filed in court today charging these men as follows:

■Elvin Sierra-Santiago, 31, formerly of Keansburg. First-degree distribution of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy, second-degree distribution of cocaine.
■Miguel Corea-Diaz, 27, of Long Branch. First-degree distribution of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy, three counts of second-degree distribution of cocaine.
■Manuel Savedra, 37, of Long Branch. First-degree distribution of cocaine, second-degree conspiracy, three counts of second-degree distribution of cocaine.
■Gilberto Badillo, 39, of Long Branch. Second-degree conspiracy.
■Fredis Ventura, 30, of Long Branch. Second-degree conspiracy, second-degree distribution of cocaine.
■Alejandro Huezca of Southampton, Pa. Second-degree conspiracy, second-degree possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
■Anibal Ortiz, 27, of Neptune City, a.k.a. Jose Ortiz Jr. Second-degree conspiracy, two counts of second-degree distribution of cocaine.
It is alleged that Corea-Diaz and Savedra ran a drug ring based in Long Branch that at one time distributed about 1 ½ to 2 kilograms of cocaine per month. Sierra-Santiago allegedly supplied cocaine to Corea-Diaz and Savedra as part of a cocaine distribution operation he ran from his auto body shop on North Broadway Avenue in Long Branch. Sierra-Santiago disappeared during the investigation and is believed to have fled to the Dominican Republic. Ortiz, an employee in the body shop, allegedly continued to supply cocaine to Corea-Diaz and Savedra. Corea-Diaz and Savedra allegedly supervised others in the ring, including Badillo and Ventura.

“Each time we dismantle this type of drug ring, we eliminate a supply line of illegal drugs that are poisoning our communities,” said Attorney General Milgram. “We will continue to target large-scale narcotics operations to protect our residents and defend their neighborhoods.”

The indictment resulted from a joint investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs & Organized Crime Bureau; Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office; Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office; New Jersey State Police Electronic Surveillance Unit, TEAMS Unit and Canine Unit; Long Branch Police Department; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Sgt. Keith Stopko of the Division of Criminal Justice was the lead detective. Deputy Attorney General Christopher St. John presented the case to the state grand jury.

“Through cooperative investigations that involve all levels of law enforcement, we are working hard to rout out narcotics rings and other criminal enterprises in New Jersey,” said Director Gramiccioni.

Corea-Diaz, Savedra, Badillo and Ventura were arrested on Aug. 27, when investigators executed search warrants at seven locations in Long Branch and Keansburg, seizing approximately one-quarter kilogram of cocaine with a street value of roughly $75,000, about $15,000 cash and five vehicles. The other defendants were arrested at different times. The defendants are being held in the Monmouth County Jail in lieu of bail.

The first-degree charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in state prison and a $500,000 fine, while second-degree charges carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.

The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.




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