Operation Justice Served resulted in a 100-count indictment from a grand jury in Monmouth County this month. Forty-five people in the Freehold, New Jersey, area were arrested in the course of the five-month investigation, ranging in age from 25 to 61 and including both men and women. Twelve of those arrested face charges of drug distribution, and the rest have been charged with conspiracy and drug possession, according to Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.
Said Gramiccioni: “We are faced with a drug problem of epidemic proportions and we must continue our coordinated assault on supply lines that feed off the problem like a cancer.”
According to Gramiccioni, the 45 people were responsible for distributing heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and prescription medications in and around Freehold Borough. Every week, the group allegedly sold about 200 grams of cocaine and 2,500 bags of heroin.
In addition to the 45 arrests, Operation Justice Served yielded a seizure of 2,700+ bags of heroin, 16 ounces of marijuana, 300 grams of cocaine, and a number of prescription medications. A collaborative effort that involved federal and state officials working together with county and local officers, the investigation took place in fall 2016 but is seeing time in the courts now.
One Battle in a War
There is a reason why every annual federal and state budget includes a hefty sum dedicated to drug interdiction and investigations of this nature into drug smuggling and distribution rings. Though 45 people who were involved in this drug ring are currently off the streets, the area impacted is relatively small, and certainly, there are hundreds of others who are engaged in similar activities.
A large number of the 45 – if not all of them – likely had some level of substance use disorder driving their involvement in the drug ring. In order to pay for their own substances, it became necessary at some point to sell drugs – to help distribute them on the side or as a main form of employment when their addiction outgrew their ability to pay and/or made it impossible for them to maintain legitimate employment.
Though it is good to know that something is being done and drug sales are not continuing unchecked, it should be taken as a sign that there is an ongoing and significant drug problem that requires immediate intervention and treatment for those who are living with addiction.
From User to Seller
It is not an uncommon trajectory for people who struggle with drug use and abuse to eventually end up committing crimes to service their addiction. Many start slowly, using their substance of choice recreationally or to manage pain, and slowly build up a tolerance and begin using more and more. Soon, they are using outside the bounds of their prescription or using substances chronically.
With repeated use, physical tolerance forms, and psychological dependence can develop as well. When this happens, the person may be unable to stop use of their drug of choice, even as they see the negative consequences of drug use beginning to pile up and change their life for the worse. As a result, being late to work or missing work frequently becomes a matter of course, and before too long, the person is out of work and living with an expensive, high-dose addiction.
It is in this situation that many turn to the people who are still in their lives – often, people who use drugs with them or sell them their drug of choice. This can naturally lead to offers of holding drugs, transporting them, or distributing them to other customers with a small payment and/or free drugs in return or performing other crimes that result in under-the-table payment in drugs or money.
Arrest as a Red Flag for Treatment
If your loved one has been arrested on drug charges, it does not have to be the end of the line. In fact, it can be a gateway to a much-needed treatment program that will help them to stop using all drugs and alcohol safely and start living a life of sobriety.
Is now the time you help your loved one connect with a life-changing drug rehab program and begin a new life in recovery?