STATE PRISON GUARD ARRESTED FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
Trenton - A senior corrections officer at Northern State Prison in Newark was arrested today and charged as a leader of a $500,000 cocaine trafficking network operating in Newark and East Orange, Attorney General Anne Milgram and Division of Criminal Justice Director Deborah Gramiccioni announced.
Eugene W. Braswell, 29, of Newark, a corrections officer for ten years, was also charged with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of a controlled dangerous substance, money laundering and conspiracy.
Also arrested were Delrese Hardy, 34, of East Orange, Joseph L. Jones, 37, of Newark, and Antwan K. Jones, 36, of Sewaren. Two other members of the network, Shuerod Walton, 28, of East Orange and Walter Braden, 30, of East Orange, were arrested earlier in July after a traffic stop in Warren County and charged with transporting 20 kilograms of cocaine. They were allegedly transporting the cocaine from Texas.
The 11-month investigation was conducted by detectives with the New Jersey State Police Official Corruption Unit and detectives with the Division of Criminal Justice, and supervised by Deputy Attorney General Mark Eliades, the chief of the Gangs and Organized Crime Bureau in the criminal justice division, and Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Manis of the Corruption Bureau.
“This was a lengthy and diligent investigation that began as a result of the shooting incident last summer involving a state correction officer who was sworn to uphold the law but instead broke the law by running a massive and illegal drug trafficking operation,,’’ Attorney General Milgram said. “I commend the State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice for this outstanding investigation.”
The investigation into drug trafficking began after Braswell was involved in a shooting incident last August outside his Newark home in which Waliford Williams, 34, was shot and killed by Braswell. According to an investigation of the shooting incident by the Attorney General’s Shooting Response Team, Williams shot at Braswell with a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, striking Braswell in the left ankle. Braswell returned fire with his own .40-caliber handgun, striking Williams twice, including once in the neck. Williams died at the scene.
The drug investigation uncovered a criminal enterprise with Braswell allegedly at its head trafficking in more than $500,000 of cocaine purchased in Texas or Florida and transported to New Jersey where it was distributed. Braswell was arrested at a girlfriend’s home early Thursday morning. There was no evidence that he was trafficking in drugs at Northern State Prison.
Bail was set at $500,000 for Braswell and the others arrested. Braswell was specifically charged with being the leader of a narcotics trafficking network, a first degree offense; possession with intent to distribute and distribution of a controlled dangerous substance (first degree); money laundering (second degree), and conspiracy.
Hardy was also charged as a leader in a narcotics trafficking network (first degree); money laundering (second degree), and conspiracy.
Joseph L. Jones was charged with intent to distribute and distribution of a controlled dangerous substance (first degree); money laundering (second degree); and conspiracy.
Antwan Jones was charged with intent to distribute and distribution of a controlled dangerous substance (first degree); money laundering (second degree); and conspiracy.
Braden and Walton were arrested on July 12 and each was charged with possession with intent to distribute (first degree). They were also held in $500,000 bail.
Search warrants were executed at Braswell’s home in Newark and Hardy’s home in East Orange. A 2002 Cadillac Escalade and 2003 Chevrolet Van owned by Braswell were also seized. Approximately 2 kilograms of cocaine and $11,600 in cash were recovered in Hardy’s home; $16,000 in cash and drug packaging material were seized in Braswell’s home and a .357 magnum was found in Braswell's car.
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