A Brick resident was among 32 people arrested by New Jersey state police in a drug bust that resulted in the seizure of $400,000 worth of heroin, pills and other illicit drugs.
Patrick J. Cavanaugh Jr., 37, of Brick is facing charges of conspiracy to distribute drugs, conspiracy to commit burglary and hindering apprehension.
Cavanaugh is among 32 other individuals charged following what state police dubbed “Operation Tidal Wave” to take down the drug distribution network, which operated in Ocean and Monmouth counties. The investigation began in October 2014 and targeted drug trafficking organizations operating in Middletown Township, Monmouth County and Beachwood Township, Ocean County. The cooperative effort was led by the New Jersey State Police Trafficking Central Unit and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration-Atlantic City Office, with assistance from the Division of Criminal Justice, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Middletown Township Police Department, and the Jersey City Police Department.
The first organization, named the “Scattaglia Network,” was run by Ed Scattaglia, Jr., of Middletown, police said. He is the alleged ringleader of a sophisticated drug trafficking network that distributed primarily cocaine in Monmouth and Ocean counties. Over the course of the investigation, Scattaglia allegedly used his residence as the focal point of his distribution network where he would meet with various individuals and supply them with cocaine for redistribution.
During the course of the investigation, detectives discovered that Francisco Romero, 38, of Englewood, supplied Scattaglia with multiple kilograms of cocaine. Romero allegedly used his residence at 159 John Street, Englewood, to store bulk quantities of cocaine for distribution. Detectives seized approximately one kilogram of cocaine from the Scattaglia network, valued at $40,000.
Then, on June 2, 2014, State Police detectives and the Englewood Police Department executed a search warrant at Romero’s residence. As a result of the search, detectives seized one pound of cocaine, $75,000 cash, an Acura TSX, and other assets valued at $50,000. That same day, a search warrant executed at Scattaglia’s residence yielded approximately $15,000 cash, drug paraphernalia, marijuana, and a BMW 325XI.
The second trafficking operation was known as the “Beachwood Network.” It operated in Beachwood and the surrounding area in Ocean County, police said. The network was responsible for the distribution of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and pharmaceutical pills.
Through various investigative means that were not public disclosed, detectives located the network’s “heroin mill,” which was identified as a manufacturing facility and stash house, in Seaside Heights. On April 9, 2015, detectives arrested Barry “Buzzy” McCombs at 302 Blaine Avenue, Seaside Heights. That day, detectives seized more than 15 grams of raw heroin, more than 275 decks of packaged heroin, over one ounce of cocaine, and other paraphernalia consistent with the packaging and preparation of heroin. The total drug value seized from this location was more than $10,000.
Detectives were able to locate and dismantle a second mill associated with the Beachwood Network on April 20, when investigators executed a search warrant at 828 Summer Avenue in Elizabeth. That house was determined to be the source of cocaine supply for the Beachwood Network, police said.
As a result of the search warrant, Andres Genao and Jose Limardo were arrested at that location, and detectives seized 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, a kilogram press machine, and paraphernalia consistent with the operation of a manufacturing facility. The approximate drug value seized from the location was over $75,000.
As a result of Operation Tidal Wave, two public employees were arrested and charged. Former Camden County Police Officer Matthew Van Houten was arrested and charged with possession of cocaine while he was employed as a police officer. Additionally, Albert Logan, who worked for the Ocean County Road Department, was charged with hindering apprehension and loitering to purchase a controlled dangerous substance.
“These ring members allegedly were dealing large quantities of heroin and prescription pills in Monmouth and Ocean counties, which have been particularly hard hit by the devastating epidemic of opiate addiction sweeping the nation and New Jersey,” said Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman in a statement. “Through operations such as this one, we are taking aim at the criminals who are maliciously fueling the epidemic and profiting from it.”
A full list of those arrested appears on the New Jersey State Police website.