News Release
For Immediate Release:
May 23, 2008

Contact: Douglas S. Collier
Special Agent/
Public Information Officer, NJ Division
(973)776-1143 (Office)
(862) 849-9940 (Cell)

55 Alleged Essex County Gang Members, Associates Arrested in Raids

MAY 23 -- (Newark, NJ) Gerard P. McAleer, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New Jersey Division, and Essex County Prosecutor Paula T. Dow announced today twenty members and associates of various street gangs were rounded up in early morning raids in Newark, Irvington, East Orange, and Orange. In addition, 35 gang-related fugitives are in custody as part of “Operation Spruce Up”.

The 55 violent offenders were wanted on warrants for skipping bail on charges ranging from aggravated assaults, shootings, robberies and narcotics. Several of the defendants may face additional bail jumping charges. The investigation and arrests are the work of the Essex County Prosecutor’s VIPER Unit, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, Newark Police Department, Irvington Police Department, East Orange Police Department, Orange Police Department and the Essex/Federal Gang Suppression Partnership including: the Drug Enforcement Administration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Marshal’s, and US Attorney’s Office.

During the morning arrests, one handgun and various quantities of narcotics were seized. Forty-one of the 55 arrested fugitives have been identified as gang members from the Bloods and Crips. The roundup was part of a six-week collaborative investigative effort to help identify and locate the targets and to provide the logistical support for the operation.

According to Gerard P. McAleer, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New Jersey Division, "This is just one of the multi-pronged efforts utilized to disrupt and dismantle violent gang offenders operating in New Jersey."

“Gang members in Essex County have caused immeasurable violent crimes that too often result in senseless deaths,” said Prosecutor Dow. “This successful fugitive roundup is further evidence that working in a collaborative effort, wide nets were cast, based on intelligence led policing, in targeted zones, resulting in the apprehension of these dangerous fugitives.”

“These criminals thumb their noses at the judicial system by committing violent crimes and then violate their bails,” said Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura. “Today’s roundup exemplifies our mission of removing these thugs from the streets of Essex County.”

“ICE remains committed to bringing transnational gang members to justice - here in New Jersey or wherever they threaten our citizens. With the arrest of these 55 violent gang members, the impact on public safety is undeniable,” said Kyle Hutchins, Special Agent in Charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Newark.

Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy stated, "I first want to thank each of the agencies involved in this collaborative effort that resulted in the arrests of 55 violent fugitives from our neighborhoods and surrounding areas. Crime knows no boundaries and the pooling of resources and intelligence has proven highly successful in our efforts to reduce crime and better ensure the safety of our community."

SAC McAleer and Prosecutor Dow wish to thank and credit member agencies of the Essex-Federal Gang Suppression Partnership, their Special Agents, officers and detectives as well as the officers and detectives from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, Newark PD, Irvington PD, East Orange PD and Orange PD.

Despite these charges every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and State law.