Three Ocean County residents have been arrested and charged after an investigation by multiple law enforcement agencies found they were selling a significant amount of cocaine from homes in Toms River and Lakewood.
The arrests of Ivan Contreras-Cruz, 41, of Toms River, Alberto Vasquez-Ventura, 27, of Lakewood, and Natalia Mihok, 49, of Toms River were announced by the County District Attorney. Ocean, Bradley Billhimer, Wednesday afternoon.
An investigation by the County Attorney’s Office of Ocean Narcotics Strike Force with US DEA – Monmouth/Ocean Post of Duty High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA/MOPOD) Group 5, Lakewood Police, LPD SCU and SRU and K-9 Unit, Toms River Police and TRPD SEU learned that three homes combined in the aforementioned municipalities – including two in Lakewood – were drug dens used to hide and sell cocaine.
With evidence in hand, DA Billhimer said law enforcement set up a beacon outside the residences on Sept. 22 and witnessed Contreras-Cruz and Vasquez-Ventura leave a residence in Lakewood, but, in separate vehicles leading to motor vehicle stops by communal police.
Prosecutor Billhimer said Contreras-Cruz and Vasquez-Ventura were detained and arrested without incident.
Mihok was arrested at the Toms River home.
When detectives searched the three residences after obtaining court-authorized search warrants, they found and seized approximately 100 grams of cocaine and nearly $18,000 in US currency, according to prosecutor Billhimer.
Due to their role in the Ocean County drug operation, all three now face multiple charges.
Prosecutor Billhimer said Contreras-Cruz was charged with distributing more than half an ounce but less than five ounces of cocaine, possession of more than half an ounce but less than five ounces of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute less than one-half ounce but less than five ounces of cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, and financial facilitation of criminal activity, was brought to the county jail in ‘Ocean then had to be freed “as a result of New Jersey’s bail reform.”
As for Vasquez-Ventura, prosecutor Billhimer said he was charged with two counts of conspiracy to distribute more than half an ounce but less than five ounces of cocaine, two counts of distributing less than half an -ounce of cocaine, two counts of possession of less than half an ounce of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession of cocaine and conspiracy to financially facilitate criminal activity and is being held at the Ocean County Jail, in awaiting his trial.
And prosecutor Billhimer said for Mihok she was charged with possession of more than half an ounce but less than five ounces of cocaine with intent to distribute, conspiracy to distribute more than half an ounce but less than five ounces of cocaine, possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia and financial facilitation of criminal activity, imprisoned in CO but later released “as a result of New Jersey’s bail reform.”
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