Several Hudson County law enforcement agencies converged on a Hoboken Housing Authority apartment yesterday morning to break up a drug ring that included 60 bags of heroin, crack, marijuana and a handgun, police said.
Detectives from the Hoboken Police Investigative Bureau began investigating reports of narcotics sales from Randell Richardson after receiving information from the public via their anonymous tip line regarding the ongoing sale of illegal narcotics inside of an apartment in 310 Jackson St., according to Det. Lt. Edgardo Cruz.
These sales were taking place at all hours of the day and night at the aforementioned address. During the investigation, it was learned that Richardson was using the apartment to conduct these sales with the help of other family members, authorities said.
This investigation lasted approximately six weeks and culminated in the lead detective gaining enough information to apply for and be granted a search warrant for an apartment on the third floor.
The Hudson County Regional SWAT Team was contacted and became the lead in the tactical operation regarding the entry and worked in unison with Hoboken ESU, Investigators and the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit.
Yesterday around 10:40 a.m., over 20 officers converged towards the target residence. Officers from the Regional Swat Team executed an entry of the apartment and rendered it safe for the back-up officers.
While inside the apartment, Randell, Cathy Richardson and Eric Richardson were secured and placed under arrest, along with Jericka Martinez.
During this operation, a second apartment that was supposed to be vacant was found to be occupied by defendant Stephen White, who was also arrested.
Once all defendants were secured and apartment rendered safe, a search was conducted.
Detectives were able to locate and secure a black Taurus .380 caliber handgun, which contained a magazine loaded with hollow point bullets, police said.
They were also able to locate over 60 bags of CDS (heroin), several bags of CDS crack cocaine and marijuana, CDS paraphernalia and over $500 in cash.
All defendants were transported to headquarters for processing and later remanded to the Hudson County Rehabilitation Center.
“I am proud of the work that was performed by the Hoboken Police Department’s Investigations Bureau that halts an operation of alleged drug distribution of multiple drugs including heroin and most importantly taking another illegal gun off the streets,” Police Chief Kenneth Ferrante said in a statement.
“Anytime one of these law enforcement operations occurs, there is a risk of injury to many. I am most satisfied that the Hudson County Regional SWAT along with the Hoboken Police emergency Service Unit was able to complete this operation with total control and professionalism, where no suspects, civilians or officers were injured. This was a total successful operation from investigation, to operation plans, to execution!”
In total, five people were arrested and charged:
Randell Richardson, 42, of Hoboken, was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, certain persons not to possess a firearm, possession of hollow point bullets, possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of heroin within 1,000 feet of a school zone, possession of Heroin within 500 feet of public housing, possession of crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school zone, possession of crack cocaine within 500 feet of public housing, possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school zone, possession of marijuana within 500 feet of public housing, distribution of CDS paraphernalia, possession of paraphernalia, establishing fortified premises and two counts of possession prescription legend drugs, police said.
Eric Richardson, 20, Jerika Martinez, 26, and Cathy Richardson, 61, all of Hoboken, were all hit with charges identical to Randell Richardson, authorities said.
Additionally, Stephen White, 50, of Hoboken was charged with burglary, possession of CDS (marijuana) and possession of drug paraphernalia, officials said.