Essex County Dismantles Female Gang Leaders
"Operation Bloodlette" Results in 43 Arrests, Significant Amounts of Illegal Drugs, Weapons and Cash Seized
JUL 28 -- NEWARK – Essex County Prosecutor Paula Dow, New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration/New Jersey Division Gerard P. McAleer, Statewide Director of Gangs, Guns and Violent Crime Control Strategies Jose Cordero, Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, East Orange Police Chief Ron Borgo, and Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy today announced the arrest of 43 gang members and their associates, in connection with the dismantling of a female-led gang that was trafficking narcotics in Newark, East Orange, Orange, and Montclair.
The investigation was part of the statewide anti-gang initiative coordinated by the Attorney General’s Office in connection with the Governor’s Strategy for Safe Streets and Neighborhoods.
Initiated in January 2009, the joint investigation dubbed “Operation Bloodette” traced an elaborate PCP, cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana distribution ring that sold significant quantities of drugs to gang members and their associates of the 464 PIRU and Sex Money Murder sets of the Bloods. Undercover detectives from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Gang and Narcotics VIPER Unit, East Orange, Newark, Montclair and Orange police departments, along with the Essex County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration recovered narcotics including: 62 ounces of PCP, 13.3 grams of heroin (266 decks), 54 grams of cocaine, and 36 grams of marijuana, with a total estimated street value of $133,000. In addition, four fully-loaded handguns, 138 rounds of ammunition, and more than $21,000 in cash were seized. It is alleged that the operation was distributing more than $50,000 worth of narcotics per week or more than $2.6 million per year.
The alleged ring leaders, Iyesha Harrison, 25, of East Orange, and Tyesha Stephens, 30, of Newark, were orchestrating the operation primarily from two locations: the South Orange Ave. vicinity bordering East Orange and Newark, and Stephens’ apartment on Elizabeth Ave. in Newark. On July 13, defendant Harrison was arrested and charged with leader of a narcotics trafficking network (first degree), distribution of CDS (third degree), distribution of CDS within 1,000 ft of a school (third degree), conspiracy to distribute CDS (second degree), and employing a juvenile to distribute CDS (second degree). On June 15, defendant Stephens was arrested and charged with possession of CDS (third degree), possession of CDS with intent to distribute (first degree), possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 1,000 ft of a school (third degree), possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 500 ft. of public housing (second degree), and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child (second degree). Both women are being held in the Essex County Jail. Bail for both was set at $300,000.
Of the 43 defendants arrested, 12 are juveniles and 31 are alleged to be gang members and/or associates.
“With these arrests, we have dismantled a drug ring led by two female members of the Bloods that was dealing more than $50,000 a week in PCP, cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana," said Attorney General Anne Milgram. "While the threat posed to our communities by these criminal enterprises is the same whether they are led by men or women, it is disturbing that gangs have evolved to exert the same destructive control over the lives of young women that they have over young men, enlisting them in deadly violence."
“The priority of the Governor’s Strategy for Safe Streets and Neighborhoods Plan is rather simple - target the most violent,” said Prosecutor Dow. “We will remain relentless in our efforts to cripple these violent gangs with investigations and prosecutions aimed at disrupting their command structures and removing their members from the streets of Essex County.”
"The hallmark of our approach under Governor Corzine's plan is to be proactive in addressing violent crime, rather than merely reacting after it occurs," said Jose Cordero, Statewide Director of Gangs, Guns and Violent Crime Control Strategies. "This operation is another example of an intelligence-led high-impact investigation aimed at reducing violence in our communities. Through these investigations involving our county task forces and their state, local and federal partners, we have arrested thousands of gang members and violent offenders across New Jersey."
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Adult defendants and charges are as follows:
Iyesha Harrison, 25, of East Orange
Tyesha Stephens, 30, of Newark
Charles Puryear, 23, of Newark
Anthony Johnson, 35, of East Orange
Anthony Hutcherson, 28, of East Orange
Mylee Cottle, 31, of Willingboro
Shaquille Hankerson, 19, of Newark
Richard Griffin, 18, of East Orange
Jasmain Roe, 20, of Bloomfield
Jerome Simpkins, 40, of Newark
Shaquillah Shayne Yates, 18, of Newark
Taugeed Hodges, 28, of Newark
Katherine Ann Yates, 42, of Newark
Clara Yates-Paulin, 45, of Newark
Vincent Paulin, 42, of Newark
Terrance Henderson, 20, of Newark
William Frazier, 19, of Newark
Caliph Barr, 19, of Newark
Howard Dawkins, 38, of Union
Dwayne Ramsammy, 32, of Orange
Gail Ramsammy, 34, of Montclair
Anthony Griffin, 23, of Newark
Daniel Cappell, 26, of Newark
Roderick Walker, 44, of South Orange
Linval Wade, 21, of East Orange
Ronald Buckhana, 18, of Newark
Sabrina Puryear, 20, of Newark
Hassan Bilal Crooms, 26, of Newark
Charles Padmore, 25, of East Orange
Saladeen Sears, 25, of Newark
Derek Puryear, 27, of Newark
Timothy Mitchell, 38, of Newark
Degrees of Above Charges: