PROSECUTOR’S SPECIAL OPERATIONS GROUP CONTINUES RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF DEALERS
Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced today the culmination of an investigation into drug activity impacting the Ocean area.
Detectives from the Prosecutor’s Special Operations Group conducted an investigation with members of the Barnegat Township Police Department resulting in the arrest of two individuals on various drug charges.
Detectives from the Prosecutor’s Special Operations Group joined forces with members of the Barnegat Township Police Narcotics Unit conducting an investigation into drug activity impacting the Ocean County area. During the course of the investigation Detectives identified Joe F. Starks age 23 of Newark and Justine Garcia age 23 of Barnegat Township as distributing quantities of heroin in the Ocean area. The investigation identified a residence in Barnegat Township specifically 19 Mast Drive as being utilized by Stark and Garcia to store and distribute quantities of heroin. Detectives also identified a 2006 silver Chevrolet Malibu as being utilized by Starks and Garcia to facilitate their drug distribution activities.
Detectives were able to obtain a no knock search warrant for 19 Mast Drive, Barnegat NJ. Detectives also obtained a search warrant for the 2006 Chevrolet Malibu. During the early evening hours of November 18, 2016 Detectives from the Prosecutor’s Special Operations Group along with members of the Barnegat Township Police Patrol Division attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop on the 2006 Chevrolet Malibu which was occupied at the time by both Starks and Garcia. As police attempted to stop the Chevrolet Malibu on West Bay Avenue, Starks who failed to stop subsequently entering the Garden State Parkway northbound. While following the Malibu northbound on the Parkway the investigating officers were joined by members of the New Jersey State Police Aviation Unit as well as marked State Police cars from the NJSP Troop E.
Officers followed the Chevrolet Malibu northbound on the Parkway into Monmouth County where Starks pulled over near mile marker 94. Both Starks and Garcia were placed under arrest and transported back to the Barnegat Township Police Department. As Starks and Garcia were being placed under arrest, members of the Prosecutor’s Special Operations Group, the Barnegat Police Narcotics Unit, and the Ocean County Regional SWAT Team with the assistance of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit executed the no-knock search warrant at 19 Mast Drive. Police also executed the search warrant on the Chevrolet Malibu. As a result of the investigation and the execution of the search warrants, police seized approximately 3500 individual dosage units of heroin from Starks and Garcia. The 2006 Chevrolet Malibu was also seized pending future forfeiture proceedings.
The following individuals were arrested and charged:
Joe F. Starks, age 23, 92 17th Avenue, Newark NJ and 19 Mast Drive Barnegat NJ was arrested and charged with Possession of Heroin, Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute over one half ounce, Distribution of Heroin and Eluding Police. The Honorable Superior Court Judge James M. Blaney J.S.C. set bail on Mr. Starks at $400,000 no ten percent. Mr. Starks was subsequently lodged in the Ocean County Jail.
Justine Garcia, age 23, 19 Mast Drive Barnegat NJ was arrested and charged with Possession of Heroin, Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute over one half ounce and Distribution of Heroin. The Honorable Superior Court Judge James M. Blaney J.S.C. set bail on Ms. Garcia at $20,000 no ten percent. Ms. Garcia was subsequently lodged in the Ocean County Jail.
The media and public are reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that these defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.