Two Township Residents Charged In Seven-Month Narcotics Investigation

Two township residents were among 18 people arrested following a 7-month investigation that netted nearly $80,000 worth of drugs and a handgun.

Michael Faligiano, 40, and Jennifer Gallo, 29, both of Somerset, were among 14 people charged with 3rd Degree Conspiracy and 3rd Degree Attempt to Possess a Controlled Dangerous Substance, according to a July 5 press release from the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office.

Also arrested as a result of the investigation – dubbed “Operation Up In Smoke” – were Frank Quezada, aka: “Smoke”, 38; Lori Jinotti, 36, and Nancy Henriquez-Leon, 27, all of Piscataway and Ricky Van Ness, 40, of Bridgewater, according to the release.

Quezada and Jinotti were charged with 2nd Degree Distribution of CDS and 2nd Degree Conspiracy to Distribute CDS, while Van Ness was charged with 1st Degree Maintaining/operating a CDS Manufacturing Facility, 1st Degree Possession of CDS (heroin) with the Intent to Distribute, 2nd Degree Possession of a Firearm While Committing a CDS Offense,  2nd Degree Certain Persons not to Have Weapons, and 2nd Degree Endangering, and Henriquez-Leon was charged with 2nd Degree Distribution of CDS.

Quezada, Jinotti, Van Ness and Henriquez-Leon were arrested between May 23 and May 26, following an investigation into the distribution of heroin, cocaine and other controlled dangerous substances in Somerset and Middlesex counties, according to the release.

The investigation resulted in the seizure of approximately 370 grams of raw heroin, 2 pounds of marijuana, approximately 1,300 bags of heroin, approximately 44 grams of cocaine, 20 individually wrapped bags of crack cocaine, a hydraulic kilo-press and other drug manufacturing equipment, according to the press release.  Detectives also seized approximately $71,000 and a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, the release said.

The seized controlled dangerous substances have the following street values: heroin, $70,000; cocaine, $3,000, and the marijuana, $6,000, according to the release.

According to the press release, also arrested with Faligiano and Gallo, and facing the same charges, were:

Grant Buchanan, 30, Chimney Rock Road, Bridgewater
Kelsey Frost, 35, Penny Lane, Flemington
Torin Houlihan, 25, Starview Drive, Hillsborough
Paul Mason, 29, Thompson Avenue, Raritan Borough
Autumn Benning, 28, Lee Avenue, North Brunswick
Brad Mullen, 36, Route 22, Whitehouse Station
Ryan Murphy, 26, Rutgers Court, Belleville
Justin Nowicki, 24, Courtes Place, Sayreville
Nicole Parah, 29, Wilson Avenue, Hamilton
Franklin Perez-Guerra, 21, Wayne Street, Perth Amboy
Evan Stockwell, 36, Downbury Court, Hillsborough
John Verden, 46, Tanglewood Drive, Piscataway

Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson said in the release that the success of this operation would not have been possible without the active cooperation of the municipal police departments assigned to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force.

Robertson thanked other agencies that assisted in the investigation, including the Bound Brook Police Department, Branchburg Township Police Department, Hillsborough Township Police Department, Manville Police Department, Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, Piscataway Police Department, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Strike Force, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey HIDTA Group 3.


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