SOUTH BRUNSWICK – South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka announced charges against three suspects on July 17 in connection to a narcotics operation targeting high school-aged students.
A two-month investigation was initiated after police saw a marked increase in high school aged students using e-cigarettes, such as Juul, with THC in it. Detectives uncovered a social media site that was selling different narcotics targeting youth in the South Brunswick area, according to information provided by the South Brunswick Police Department.
The investigation identified the social media site as being run by a 19-year-old Monmouth Junction resident. South Brunswick detectives learned he was allegedly receiving drug packages via mail, according to the statement.
The young man allegedly advertised that he would sell cartridges, raw marijuana and THC candies including “Stoney Patch Kids” which looked similar to Sour Patch Kids. He reportedly used Snapchat to solicit sales and offered to drive to meet buyers. On two occasions in the past month, residents had reported he was possibly selling drugs in different neighborhoods, according to the statement.
The United States Postal Inspection Service joined the investigation and identified three suspicious packages being sent to the suspect during the second week of July. On July 12, detectives and undercover postal inspectors monitored the Northumberland apartment complex as a mail carrier left the three packages in a hallway in front of an apartment. Within minutes detectives observed an 18-year-old resident of Monmouth Junction pick up the packages in the hallway, according to police reports. Detectives approached the teen, who indicated the packages were going to be picked up by a 17-year-old in a few minutes. Police arrested the 18-year-old, the 17-year-old and the 19-year-old, who was waiting in his apartment in the complex next door, according to police.
The three packages contained $6,400 worth of narcotics, including 160 e-cigarette cartridges containing THC. The two adults were each charged with possession of over 5 ounces of hashish (high concentration THC) with intent to distribute, possession of over 5 ounces of hashish, and employing a juvenile in a controlled dangerous substance distribution scheme.
The juvenile was charged in the distribution scheme.
“The marked increase in Juul usage and the difficulty in detecting THC in the e-cigarettes is marking juveniles more susceptible to dealers. This group used Instagram and other social media to buy the drugs and market themselves to young people,” Police Chief Raymond Hayducka said in the statement. “Stopping this group and raising awareness for parents is key to getting ahead of this growing trend”.
Hayducka credited the partnerships the department has with putting the case together.
“There was excellent work by South Brunswick Detective Tim Hoover and U.S. Postal Inspector Rob Waltz to identify the people involved, track the drugs, and stop the sales,” Hayducka said.
He thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, New Jersey State Police, North Brunswick police, and the South Brunswick School District for their assistance.