An undercover police sting helmed by the Hudson County police department resulted in the arrest of 5 individuals from neighboring counties in East Newark, Kearny and Belleville who were operating an alleged prescription drug distribution ring.  Police conducted a two-month surveillance of the suspects with agents making undercover purchases primarily out of nearby counties in Hackensack, Newark and Kearny.

The Details of the Investigation

On August 1st, authorities finally nabbed Diana Pinto, 26, Robert Cestari, 21, Stephanie Perez, 27 and Rafael Rivera, 25, for the wide scale distribution of the prescription drugs Xanax and Oxycodone.  Spokesmen for the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office said the individuals had been selling over two dozen doses of Xanax to the officers during the course of the two-month long investigation.  Prosecutors indicate that the arrest lead to the seizure of more than 2 vehicles, 200 doses of Xanax, 10 doses of Oxycodone and a sizable bankroll brought on by the illicit proceeds of the illegal drug supplying enterprise.  

Eric Berg, 36, was arrested on August 2nd by authorities for his role in the illegal drug distribution conspiracy.  After a search of his home investigators came up with an additional 200 doses of Xanax, $1000 in ill-gotten gains and close to 8 ounces of Marijuana.  His vehicle was also commandeered by law enforcement pending additional details in the investigation.

Prosecutors attribute the success of the investigation to a joint effort on the part of the Kearny Police Department, Hazlet Police Department and the Monmouth County Sheriff and Prosecutor’s Office.

The War on Drugs Forges On in Vain

Despite this latest public relations win on behalf of law enforcement in New Jersey the war on drugs continues to be an abysmal failure.  These arrests have a minuscule impact on the downward spiral continuing to affect the state of New Jersey.  Perhaps instead of these low-profile arrests, which will do little to curb the ongoing epidemic plaguing New Jersey and the rest of the U.S., authorities could dedicate more resources into more public service initiatives aimed at educating the youth and offering rehabilitation services to offenders.  

We have a long way to go if we are going to have any chance at getting the help this country and so desperately needs and deserves.  Instead of filling our already teeming prisons with more petty criminals we need to take a completely different approach that tackles the problem at the root causes.  Figuring out the reasons why we are compelled towards addiction and getting behind the underlying reasons behind this motivation are essential if we are to make any real headway going forward.