7, Including Alleged Ringleader, Arrested in Salem County Drug Probe, Authorities Say

Article by: Bill Gallo

Original Article: http://www.nj.com/salem/index.ssf/2016/08]]/7_including_alleged_ringleader_arrested_in_salem_c.html


A man who is accused of being a Salem County drug ringleader and six others have been charged following a three-month investigation, authorities said.

The announcement of the arrests was made Wednesday by Salem County Prosecutor John T. Lenahan.

“This was a long-term, cooperative investigation which succeeded because of the professional efforts of the partner agencies involved,” Lenahan said.

According to Lenahan, a three-month, interstate narcotics probe culminated on Aug. 9, with the arrest of Theodore “Teddy” Cooke, 39. Cooke, alleged to be the mastermind of a drug distribution network, was taken into custody at his State Street, Penns Grove, home  without incident, authorities said.

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Additionally, search warrants were executed at several locations in Penns Grove and neighboring Carneys Point Township. During searches at which a large quantity of suspected cocaine was seized along with drug distribution paraphernalia, Lenahan said.

Cooke was charged with possession of cocaine, possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a quantity greater than half an ounce with the intent to distribute, being the leader of a narcotics distribution network, tampering with physical evidence, conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance in a quantity over five ounces.

Officials estimate that the suspected cocaine had an estimated street value of approximately $5,000. Authorities allege that Cooke was obtaining bulk quantities of cocaine outside of Salem County and then utilizing his associates to distribute quantities of the illegal drug to customers throughout county.

The investigation was led by Senior Investigator Jessica Venello of the Salem County Prosecutor’s Office.  The Drug Enforcement Administration-Camden Resident Office, New Jersey State Police, Salem County Sheriff’s Office, Penns Grove Police Department, Carneys Point Police Department, Salem Grove Police Department, Pennsville Police Department and Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office assisted during the course of the investigation, according to Lenahan.

In addition to Cooke, the following suspects were arrested, according to the prosecutor’s office:

-09e8c875fa5637da• Mary Stewart, 56, of State Street, Penns Grove, was charged with possession of controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a quantity of less than one-half ounce with the intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance in a quantity over five ounces.

-ca309fcac34e626b• Clyde Taylor, 57, of State Street, Penns Grove, was charged with possession of controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a quantity of over one-half ounce with the intent to distribute, tampering with physical evidence and conspiracy to distribute controlled dangerous substance in a quantity over five ounces.

-94e506ef3445873b• Jerome Johnson, 39, of Washington Street, Wilmington, Delaware, was charged possession of cocaine, possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a quantity of less than one-half ounce with the intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance in a quantity over five ounces.

-1354dd5e6021bfb7• Rashawn Harold, 24, of Kent Street, Salem, was charged with possession of cocaine, possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a quantity of less than one-half ounce with the intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance in a quantity over five ounces.

-ba3c19141381bdbd• Tyquan Gary, 28, of Griffith Street, Penns Grove, was charged with conspiracy to distribute a controlled dangerous substance in a quantity of over five ounces.

-31a8e27e6489460e• Markeya Stewart, 26, of State Street, Penns Grove, was charged with conspiracy to distribute controlled dangerous substance in a quantity over five ounces.

Cooke is being held in the Salem County Correctional Facility, Mannington Township, on $250,000, authorities said.

The remaining six suspects were released on their own recognizance after being charged, the prosecutor’s office said.