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Raritan Marijuana Probe Leads To 31 Arrests


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An investigation into three Raritan Borough men who kept their marijuana fresh in mason jars has led to the arrest of 31 people -- including a supplier in New York City -- and the seizure of six pounds of high-grade pot and several thousand dollars, Somerset County Prosecutor Wayne J. Forrest said.

Forrest, Warren Township Acting Chief Russell Leffert and Raritan Borough Chief Michael Sniscak announced that "Operation Mason Preservation" began when the prosecutor's Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force learned Ravi Sinha, 19, of Colts Neck was reportedly selling marijuana in Somerset County. Police also learned Sinha was working with Raritan Borough roommates, Brandon Cruz, 19, and Brian Colonna, 19, who live at 415B Raritan Ave., Forrest said.

Detectives learned Cruz was getting his marijuana from his cousin, Eric Larson, of 144 Valpeck Ave. Sinha and Colonna grew their own marijuana and supplemented their supply from David Flinn, 19, of Bleecker Street in New York City, Forrest said.

The investigation culminated Thursday when detectives arrested Cruz, Colonna, Larson, and Sinha and executed search warrants at their homes.

Forrest said the search results were:

At Cruz and Colonna's home, police found a safe with three mason jars containing marijuana, several bags of loose marijuana, a bag containing 52 individually-packaged bags of marijuana, scales, and various items of drug paraphernalia.

At Larson's home on Valpeck Avenue, police found 11 mason jars filled with marijuana buds, a scale, a bag containing marijuana seeds, photographs of marijuana plants, drug distribution records, a computer and drug paraphernalia.

At Sinha's home in Colts Neck police seized two potted marijuana plants and bagged marijuana.

Police charged Sinha, Cruz, Colonna and Larson with third-degree conspiracy to distribute marijuana, third-degree possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and disorderly persons possession of paraphernalia.

Police found the most marijuana -- three pounds -- at Flinn's apartment in New York City, Forrest said. There, detectives reportedly also found scales and packaging materials. Flinn was arrested Friday and will face drug charges in New York, Forrest said.

Following the arrests of Cruz, Colonna, Larson and Sinha, authorities fanned out across central New Jersey to find people who may have purchased drugs from them.

The following people face disorderly persons drug charges:

James Ruiz Diaz, 19, of Center Street, Bernardsville.

Sean McCarthy, 19, of Childs Road, Bernardsville.

The investigation then led to three men in Warren -- Steven Russo, 20, of Old Smalleytown Road; Nicholas Pinder, 20, of Valley View Road; and Brendon "Ben" Gaiser, 19, of Reinman Road.

Detectives received information that Russo sold drugs in the Warren area. Detectives began placing him under surveillance and learned that he met nightly to exchange drugs at a barn on Gaiser's property at 40 Reinman Road.

Detectives arrested Russo, Pinder and Gaiser Thursday and searched their homes and vehicles. At Russo's home, police reportedly found 23 glass jars -- including several mason jars and marijuana. Detectives also seized marijuana and a scale from Russo's vehicle, Forrest said. At Geiser's home, detectives seized numerous items of paraphernalia. At Pinder's home, detectives seized two mason jars containing marijuana, a scale, packaging materials, and money. Detectives also seized marijuana from Pinder's vehicle.

Newshawk: 420AM&PM - 420 Magazine
Source: Daily Record (NJ)
Pubdate: October 15, 2006
Copyright: 2006 dailyrecord.com
Contact: dlyons1@gannett.com
Website: Welcome to www.dailyrecord.com - Morris County, New Jersey
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Journalists always seem to make stuff like this sound way worse than it is.
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