TOMS RIVER — The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Special Operations Group is getting a rebranding, as the prosecutor announced Thursday the agency will double down on fighting narcotics trafficking.
The arm of the Prosecutor’s Office, now renamed the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Narcotics Strike Force will see personnel changes “and a re-dedication to aggressively pursuing persons trafficking in the sale (of) illegal narcotics in Ocean County,” said Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.
In conjunction with the renaming, the Prosecutor’s Office announced Thursday arrests made stemming from a two-month investigation with police from Barnegat, Lacey and Stafford townships. Ronald Lawrence, 30, Denisha Nash, 30, Leashan Coleman, 29, all of Barnegat; and Carol Ann Budinski, 36, of Toms River, were all arrested Tuesday and charged with a litany of drug-related charges, including conspiracy to distribute heroin.
Lawrence was charged with maintaining a controlled substance manufacturing facility and is being held at the Ocean County jail. Nash, Budinski and Coleman were all processed and await future court dates.
The arrests highlight what the prosecutor says is a pressing issue in the region. The Narcotics Strike Force will share intelligence with local, state and federal law enforcement, Billhimer said, with the aim of combating opioid abuse in the county. The strike force, along with other county services, will “provide compassionate guidance and assistance to those suffering from addiction and provide access to treatment.”
“This compassion shall not apply to those individuals trafficking in the sale of illegal narcotics in Ocean County,” he said.
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