Eight people have been arrested and large quantities of illegal narcotics and cash have been seized as the result of an intensive and fast-moving investigation into drug trafficking in the area, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Tuesday.
Several search warrants executed in multiple towns Friday night resulted in the seizure of approximately half a kilogram of raw heroin, an additional 7,700 folds of heroin packaged into bricks, more than one full kilogram of cocaine, half a kilogram of the designer drug known as “molly,” and approximately $63,500 in cash.
The estimated combined street value of the seized drugs is slightly over $500,000.
Arrested Friday were the primary target of the investigation, 36-year-old Dario Camino of Elizabeth, as well as 35-year-old Erika Garcia of Newark, 22-year-old Fatima Gonzalez and 37-year-old Martin Davis of Plainfield, and 31-year-old Jose Segovia, 32-year-old Geovany Camino, and 36-year-old Eddie Jimenez, each of Elizabeth. Also charged in connection with the investigation was 25-year-old Amber Tompkins of Old Bridge, who turned herself in to authorities on Monday.
The approximately three-week investigation was led by the Prosecutor’s Office’s Guns, Gangs, Drugs, and Violent Crimes Task Force; jointly coordinated by the FBI’s Newark office and the Elizabeth Police Department; and assisted by the Newark Police Department, Old Bridge Police Department, Plainfield Police Division, Union County Police Department, Union County Sheriff’s Office, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, and Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
The investigation revealed that Dario Camino and his co-defendants had been orchestrating the distribution of large quantities of heroin and other drugs in and around the Elizabeth area during recent months. As members of the Elizabeth Police Department SWAT Unit approached Camino outside his home on the 1100 block of Mary Street in Elizabeth Friday night, he entered a vehicle and quickly fled the scene, but he and Segovia were arrested shortly thereafter by detectives at a bar in neighboring Newark.
Located in Dario Camino’s home were one full brick of heroin, packaging paraphernalia including a stamp, ink pads, rubber bands, and empty packaging folds all used in the packaging of heroin, as well as a total of nearly $37,000 in cash.
Geovany Camino and Gonzalez were arrested at a residence on the 200 block of Clark Place in Elizabeth, where investigators uncovered a fully functional makeshift heroin mill. It was at this location where most of the remaining drugs were seized, in addition to two drug presses, respirator masks, numerous stamps and ink pads, blenders, scales, rubber bands, and thousands of new empty folds used for packaging heroin.
Jimenez and Garcia were arrested at Jimenez’s home on the 600 block of Elizabeth Avenue in Elizabeth, while Davis was arrested at his home on the 900 block of Prospect Avenue in Plainfield. Along with quantities of raw and packaged heroin, members of the Task Force also seized from Davis’s home more than $20,000 in cash, ventilation masks, mixing bowls, rubber bands, rolls of tape, and numerous stamps with various markings used in the processing and packaging of heroin.
Dario Camino, Geovany Camino, and Gonzalez all were charged with first-degree racketeering, first-degree distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, first-degree maintaining a drug production facility, second-degree conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, and related lesser drug offenses. Dario Camino additionally was charged with second-degree eluding police. State Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield set bail for Dario and Geovany Camino at $500,000 apiece, cash only, while bail for Gonzalez was set at $250,000.
Davis and Jimenez both were charged with first-degree racketeering, second-degree conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, and multiple related second- and third-degree drug offenses. Judge Caulfield set bail for those two defendants at $350,000, cash only.
Tompkins was charged with first-degree racketeering and third-degree conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance; her bail was set at $150,000. Segovia was charged with third-degree hindering apprehension, while Garcia was charged with two disorderly persons drug offenses.
“We would like to express our profound gratitude to each of the assisting law enforcement agencies for providing invaluable logistical support in this investigation,” Prosecutor Park said. “This was a true group effort that quickly produced outstanding results.”
Convictions on first-degree crimes are commonly punishable by terms of 10 to 20 years in state prison, while second-degree crimes are punishable by 5 to 10 years in prison.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.