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In what is being described as the widest city-wide drug sweep in history, Hackensack police arrested more than 100 suspected drug dealers over two days this week, and they may be closer to solving the murder of two boys. The sweep was the culmination of a seven month-long undercover investigation into the sale of cocaine, crack, heroin, marijuana, oxycodone and the drug known as Molly out of city parks, apartments, restaurants and even malls.
Officers from local, state and federal agencies launched the sweep in the early morning hours Monday. Approximately 250 officers gathered at a warehouse in Hackensack at 4 a.m. The group included 100 city police officers, 50 New Jersey state troopers, 50 federal agents and 50 Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office investigators.
Armed with arrest and search warrants, the team arrested 115 suspects starting at 6 a.m. Monday and another 20 the following day and is still searching for others.
Among those arrested was Hackensack resident Charles “Old School” Williams, 62, who allegedly sold heroin and oxycodone to an undercover officer three times near Union Street Park. Williams served time in a Virginia prison for murdering two boys in 1969 and in New Jersey for molesting boys in the 1970s. Now Hackensack police are investigating whether the Level 3 sex offender is connected to the unsolved murders of two boys in New Jersey.
Williams has been charged with aggravated assault for a stabbing, three counts of distribution of narcotics, and three counts of distribution near a public park. He is being held in Bergen County Jail with bail set at $750,000.
As part of the undercover sting, undercover officers from the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office, Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the Little Ferry Police Department made drug purchases across Hackensack, mostly in public parks, public housing complexes and school zones.
One suspect, Nahdir Gonzalez, of Hackensack, allegedly sold drugs to an undercover officer near Memorial Park while holding his baby. Suspects Cleon Shoemaker and Latoya McCarroll allegedly sold marijuana dipped in embalming fluid out of their Clinton Place apartment while a baby was in the home. Police also bought “Pink Crack/Strawberry Crack,” which is said to produce a great high.
Also this week, city officials issued complaints of distributing drug paraphernalia against the following businesses for allegedly selling crack pipes: Hackensack Convenience Store on Anderson Street, Central Avenue Mini Mart on First Street, and Miss T’s on First Street.
More than 1,200 drug arrests have been executed in Hackensack over the past year, 300 of those for drug dealing.