Drugs have been around our nation for a long time. From the prohibition era gangsters to today’s drug wars, drug use has been incorporated into our culture. Drugs have also been abused, sold and resulted in countless death through the ages. Oftentimes, gangs are involved with drugs and the sale of drugs. The reality is that many of the gangs in involved in the illegal benavior hide out in neighborhoods throughout New Jersey.

Recently, members from a gang know as the “Uptown Crew” were arrested for a variety of drug crimes, including conspiracy to distribute heroin and employing people under 18 to distribute heroin. The gang has been rumored to hire children as young as 14 to run errands so that the older members would escape prosecution. The Uptown Crew allegedly imported between a half-kilo and kilo of heroin every three weeks from Newark and distributed it in smaller quantities. The FBI hopes to find and persecute all of the gang’s members.

Drug crimes have a wide range of penalties in New Jersey. The punishment for drug trafficking depends on several factors including the type of drug, amount, area of distribution and whether or not children were targeted. Sentences can range from a few years in prison to life in prison. There are several programs available for offenders that create other options instead of jail time. One of these options is the Pretrial Intervention Program, which involves community service and drug diversion services. Not everyone may apply for these programs.

Any New Jersey resident convicted of a drug crime is urged to seek the council of a qualified criminal defense attorney. Without legal consultation, an offender may likely face heavier consequences.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Indictments ‘dismantle’ Homestead drug ring,” Alex Zimmerman, March 15, 2013