Four arrested in Atlantic County as authorities seize mass quantities of drugs, guns – Press of Atlantic City
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ATLANTIC CITY — Four men face a litany of gun and drug charges in Atlantic County, including the alleged sale of an untraceable fully automatic weapon.
Acting state Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin on Thursday announced the arrests of the four men following an investigation by a task force focused on the traffic of illegal guns, heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine in Atlantic City and elsewhere in the county.
The investigation also seized 14 prohibited large-capacity ammunition magazines, along with other weapons, oxycodone and crack cocaine.
Arrested were Ricardo Lugo Jr., 21, of Egg Harbor Township; Jamal M. George, 26, of Mays Landing; Rashawn S. Parks, 31, of Galloway Township; and Rasan McGee, 30, of Egg Harbor City.
Lugo is charged with distribution of methamphetamine, distribution of heroin/fentanyl, conspiracy to distribute narcotics, possession of heroin/fentanyl, possession of methamphetamine and possession of a defaced firearm.
George is charged with distribution of methamphetamine, distribution of heroin/fentanyl, promoting organized street crime, possession of a firearm while committing a drug offense, unlawful possession of a firearm, sale of a machine gun, sale of an assault rifle, possession of heroin, possession of methamphetamine, sale of a Glock handgun, possession of a large-capacity magazine and sale of a large-capacity magazine.
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Parks is charged with distribution of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of heroin/fentanyl with intent to distribute, possession of heroin/fentanyl, possession of OxyContin pills and possession of drug paraphernalia.
McGee is charged with possession of a firearm while committing a drug offense, possession of a weapon as a convicted felon, unlawful possession of a firearm, distribution of oxycodone pills, sale of a pistol, sale of a large-capacity magazine and possession of a large-capacity magazine.
“The illegal guns and drugs we seized in this investigation illustrate the serious threat allegedly posed by these defendants in Atlantic County,” Platkin said in a statement.
Ghost guns are manufactured without serial numbers registered with a federally licensed gun manufacturer and sold without licenses, making them difficult to trace. In 2018, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law that makes it a crime to buy, manufacture, possess or sell ghost guns in New Jersey. Over the past year, law enforcement agencies have recovered 275 illegal ghost guns in the state.
“We have seen an alarming proliferation in New Jersey of untraceable ‘ghost guns,’ which have become the weapon of choice for many violent criminals because of the inability of law enforcement to trace them when they are used to commit a shooting,” said Platkin. “Each time we seize one of these guns from the black market — in this case a fully automatic assault rifle — we save lives.”
State Police and the state Division of Criminal Justice worked with the Atlantic City Metro Task Force, which includes Atlantic City police, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and the county Sheriff’s Office. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office also assisted, as did Hamilton Township police, the Cherry Hill office of U.S. Homeland Security Investigations and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
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Lugo was found to be distributing large amounts of heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine in and around Atlantic City and Mays Landing, Platkin said. Officers allegedly purchased methamphetamine, heroin and/or fentanyl from Lugo nine times.
Subsequently, George, Parks and McGee were found to be distributing illegal drugs and firearms throughout Atlantic County, Platkin said. Detectives arranged 14 controlled purchases of firearms or drugs from those defendants: three gun sales and seven sales of heroin/fentanyl or methamphetamine allegedly made by George; two sales of methamphetamine allegedly made by Parks; and one gun sale and a separate sale of 120 high-dose 30 mg oxycodone pills allegedly made by McGee.
George, Parks and McGee were arrested Jan. 27, when task force members and partners executed search warrants for their homes and two vehicles. Police allegedly found two 9mm handguns and two .38 caliber handguns with large capacity magazines. In addition to other drugs and ammunition, police allegedly found seven bricks of heroin in Parks’ home, each containing 50 single doses.
Lugo was arrested Feb. 16, resulting in the seizure of a 9mm handgun with a defaced serial number and about 6 ounces of methamphetamine.
All four are being held in the Atlantic County jail.
Contact Bill Barlow:
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