It began with a driver who Hackensack police said they caught with three large bags of pot and some THC during a traffic stop. It ended in the takedown of a Somerset County-based operation that authorities said shipped marijuana by the pound from California to New Jersey.
Hackensack police said they found a five-gallon bucket containing bags of pot, along with the THC cartridges, when they stopped Victor I. Chihimie, 22, of Madison last month for a traffic violation.
City police detectives quickly found that Chihimie “was receiving multiple suspicious packages [at] a residence on Edgewood Terrace in South Bound Brook,” a release issued by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday said.
Authorities said they contacted the United States Postal Inspection Service and discovered that, over several months, 18 suspicious packages had been shipped from California to Edgewood Terrace in South Bound Brook.
The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office then joined the probe.
Postal inspectors intercepted two suspicious packages sent to a residence on Perry Road in Annandale, authorities said in a release issued Tuesday.
The return address on one of the packages was the South Bound Brook home, it said.
Bound Brook Police K9 Crusader indicated drugs were in the packages, authorities said in the release.
Eight suspicious packages in all were sent to the Perry Road address in Annandale, they said.
Investigators obtained warrants and searched both residences earlier this month.
They seized 13 pounds of pot, drug paraphernalia and $3,562 in suspected proceeds from the South Bound Brook home while arresting Chihimie and three others: Madisson R. Holloway and Kyle S. Gordon, both and Jahden I. Chihimie, 19, it says.
Authorities also seized five pounds of pot, paraphernalia and $1,968 in drug cash at the Annadale home while arresting Angelo Hinojosa, 20, they said.
Altogether, the street value of the marijuana was estimated at $47,000.
Authorities charged the defendants with various drug counts, including maintaining and/or operating a drug production facility.
Gordon was released on a summons pending a court appearance.
The rest were sent to the Somerset County Jail to await detention hearings.
Conducting the joint investigation were the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and police from South Bound Brook, Bound Brook, Clinton Township and Hackensack.
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