Operation Short Storm nets $1M in marijuana, 7 guns, 31 arrested

NEWARK, NJ — The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office executed search warrants in the Ironbound section of Newark, Harrison, Kearny, and locations in Monmouth and Ocean counties resulting in the confiscation of approximately 23,000 grams of marijuana and two kilos of cocaine with a combined estimated street value of $1.1 million, according to an Aug. 27 press release from acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore Stephens II and Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose.

It is alleged that drug dealers delivered to buyers at their homes or other locations throughout the Ironbound section of Newark in what was a retail business on wheels. Buyers would call in their orders and drugs would be delivered shortly.

“These distributors operated in a way that made them feel they were immune from detection. The methods employed were designed to avoid attracting the attention of law enforcement. The distributors used nondescript vehicles. Having a well-established customer base gave the drug dealers a false sense of comfort,” Stephens said. “They thought they could sell narcotics with impunity.”

In addition to the cocaine and marijuana, seven guns, including a .223 assault rifle and 12-gauge shotgun, were recovered; nearly $300,000 in U.S. currency; 62 oxycodone pills with a street value of $1,550; and three Xanax pills with a street value of $30.

Dubbed “Operation Short Storm,” the raids resulted in the arrest of 31 people. Another 16 have been charged but remain at large. In addition, 12 vehicles, including two Mercedes Benz 550 sedans, were seized, as was jewelry, including apparent Rolex, Breitling and Gucci watches.

The search warrants were executed on Aug. 22 and 23 by detectives from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office along with officers from police agencies in Newark, Harrison, Kearny, Monmouth County and Ocean County.

“As always, effective law enforcement is about partnership, whether it’s with other agencies or the community,” Ambrose said.

The following defendants were charged as a result of Operation Short Storm: Helder Goncalves, 41, of Newark; Aurelia Goncalves, 39, of Newark; David Pereira, 45, of Keansburg; Valeria Victer, 21, of Keansburg; Jaime McCullough, 42, of Newark; Avamarie Pinho, 46, of Newark; Johnathan Martins, 28, of Newark; Aristides Stradiotti, 33, of Newark; Pedro Moutinho-Alves, 41, of Newark; Antonio Marques, 38, of Harrison; Brian Teixeira, 29, of Kearny; Jovanni Perez, 39, of Kearny; Kelvin Portes, 30, of Elizabeth; David Borges, 33, of Hillside; Frank Cunha, 55, of Harrison; Jose Carneiro, 52, of Newark; Jose Dacosta, 64, of Kearny; Jose Dealmeida, 35, of Kearny; Alan Devivo, 63, of Bradley Beach; Marinete Doyle, 52, of Kearny; Lillian Duarte, 26, of Newark; Luiz Esilva, 53, of Linden; Annmarie Golya, 50, of Kearny; Jose Hermo, 44, of Harrison; Edna Lovelace, 48, of Newark; James Lovelace, 51, of Newark; Joseph Longueira, 50, Union; John Malik, 36, of North Bergen; Erica Marcinczyk, 31, of Sayreville; Juan Martinez, 43, of Belford; Gustavo Mendez, 50, of Rahway; Abner Torres, 41, of Newark; Carlos Nicolau, 38, of Kearny; Rafael Oliveira, 32, of Newark; Richard Palma, 50, of Newark; Fernando Pires, 48, of Perth Amboy; Vanderlei Santana, 38, of Newark; Carlos Simoes, 37, of Newark; Danny Tavares, 34, of Newark; Angelo Trindade, 42, Rahway; Jose Paz, 38, of Newark; Angel Ruiz, 46, of Belleville; Michael Sori, 49, of East Rutherford; Jose Fernandez, 70, of Newark; Jennifer Stradiotti, 35, of Newark; and Samantha Montez, 24, of Hillside.

These are accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they enter a guilty plea or are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.