Residents of Toms River of Lakewood utilized three properties to hold and distribute cocaine, and were found with $18,000 in cash during the execution of a search warrant, prosecutors announced yesterday.
Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, as well as local police and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration investigated cocaine distribution in the area, consisting of a surveillance operation followed by a search. The investigation culminated Sept. 22 with the arrests of Ivan Contreras-Cruz, 41, of Toms River, Alberto Vasquez-Ventura, 27, of Lakewood, and Natalia Mihok, 49, of Toms River.
According to a statement from the prosecutor’s office, detectives from the numerous law enforcement agencies established stationary and mobile surveillance on a residence in Toms River as well as two residences in Lakewood. The locations of the residences were not publicly divulged.
“Law enforcement maintained surveillance on Contreras-Cruz and Vasquez-Ventura as they left one of the Lakewood residences in separate vehicles,” Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said in the state. “The Lakewood Township Police Department effectuated separate motor vehicle stops on both vehicles; Contreras-Cruz and Vasquez-Ventura were both detained and placed under arrest without incident.”
Detectives later executed court-authorized search warrants on the Toms River residence and both Lakewood residences. Law enforcement seized approximately 100 grams of cocaine and nearly $18,000 in cash. Mihok was taken into custody at the Toms River residence, authorities said.
Contreras-Cruz was charged with distribution of more than a half-ounce and less than 5 ounces of cocaine, as well as simple possession, conspiracy to distribute narcotics, possession of drug paraphernalia and financial facilitation of criminal activity. He was lodged in the Ocean County Jail, but later released under the state’s bail reform law.
Vasquez-Ventura was charged with two counts of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, distribution of less than a half-ounce of cocaine, two counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, simple possession and financial facilitation of criminal activity. He was lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending trial.
Mihok also faces charges of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, simple possession of cocaine, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and financial facilitation of criminal activity. She was also lodged in the jail before being released under the state’s bail reform law.