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Drugs, Guns Seized, 27 People Arrested After Multi-County Drug Sting

Sanders, Karream-2

Karream Sanders
Photo: Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office

More than $3,000 in heroin and an assortment of weapons were recovered in a multi-county drug sting that resulted in the arrests of 27 people.

The five-month investigation targeted heroin distribution in and around Franklin Township and New Brunswick, according to a release on the operation from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.

The investigation revealed that three people – William King, Karream Sanders and Shakime Saunders, no addresses given – conspired to distribute heroin to multiple people through Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer and Burlington counties, the statement said.

The investigation began when detectives from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force learned that King was distributing heroin in those counties, the release said. The release said that King was supplied heroin by Sanders, who got it from Saunders.

During the investigation, King was living with Latoya Jackson, no address given, who police said also participated in the distribution. King was also distribution drugs from the home of Jessica Belton, no address given, with her assistance, police said.

Saunders, Shakime-2

Shakime Saunders
Photo: Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office

King, Sanders, Saunders and Jackson were arrested on April 2, the release said. Search warrants executed at the homes and autos owned by King, Sanders and Saunders, Jackson and Belton turned up more than $3,000 worth of heroin, a Smith & Wesson .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun and a .40-caliber STI semi-automatic handgun, which had previously been reported stolen, according to the release.

A “large quantity” of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and drug packaging material was also seized, according to the release.

The investigation ended April 4, when 24 more people were arrested throughout the state, the release said.

According to the release:

“As a result of the investigation, King was charged with  Conspiracy to Distribute, 3rd Degree, Possession of CDS (Heroin) with Intent to Distribute, 3rd Degree, Possession of Firearm while Committing a CDS Offense, 2nd Degree, a Certain Persons Not to Possess Firearms, 2nd Degree, Possession, Defaced Firearm, 4th Degree, and Endangering the Welfare of a child, 2nd Degree.

“Sanders was charged with Conspiracy to Distribute, 3rd Degree, Possession of a Firearm while Committing a CDS Offense 2nd Degree and Certain Persons Not to Possess Firearms, 2nd Degree. Saunders was charged with  Conspiracy to Distribute, 3rd Degree.

King, William-2

William King
Photo: Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office

“Jackson was charged  with Conspiracy to Distribute, 3rd Degree, Possession of CDS (Heroin) with Intent to Distribute, 3rd Degree, Possession of Firearm while Committing a CDS Offense, 2nd Degree, a Certain Persons Not to Possess Firearms, 2nd Degree, Possession, Defaced Firearm, 4th Degree,  and Endangering the Welfare of a child, 2nd Degree.

“Charged with 3rd degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS were: Jessica Belton, Dennis Jenkins, Damon Pappas, Mario Dacosta, Nicolo Rossi, Angelique Powell, Luke Tillman, Martin Dixon Jr., Justin Horbelt, Rashon Steel and Lauren DiBattista.

“Charged with third degree Attempt to Possess CDS and/or 3rd Degree Conspiracy to Possess CDS for buying heroin from the three primary target defendants during this investigation were:  Phillip Ray Crone, Hamza Namoya, Laura Klobusicky, Naim Griffin, Matheus Pontes, Paul Fortenberry, Barry Thompson, Bryan Arline, Shon Callahan Jr., Diane Elefante and Todd Richardson.

“Also, Eric Eskesem was arrested for an outstanding warrant out of Somerset County.

“The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office was assisted by detectives from the following law enforcement agencies during this investigation:  the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Franklin Township Police Department, City of New Brunswick Police Department, City of Linden Police Department, South Brunswick Township Police Department, Piscataway Township Police Department, and the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit and Bureau of Criminal Identification.”

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