A year-long investigation involving the New Jersey State Police and more than 20 local police departments has led to the arrests of 24 individuals and the takedown of a major drug distribution network. The arrests were made on Dec. 19 when police executed search warrants at a warehouse on Park Avenue in Manalapan and a Monmouth Executive Airport hangar. The searches are said to have led to the seizure of about 1,100 pounds of marijuana and more than 6,000 flavored THC vaporizer cartridges. Police put the street value of the seized drugs at about $2 million.

The seizures and arrests were announced on Jan. 7. The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office says that the individuals taken into custody sprayed the contents of the THC vaporizer cartridges onto candy that had been purchased at convenience stores. THC is the cannabinoid that gives marijuana its psychoactive properties.

The alleged ringleader of the group is a 27-year-old Freehold man. He faces a raft of conspiracy and drug charges. The group is accused of distributing marijuana candy across the country. Prosecutors say that many of the group’s members lived lavishly on the money they made. In addition to drugs and drug paraphernalia, authorities seized assets worth approximately $10 million. These assets included 21 luxury and exotic automobiles. A Los Angeles man whom police believe was a member of the group remains at large according to reports.

Law enforcement investigations like this one tend to cast a wide net, but proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt against all of the suspects taken into custody is not always straightforward for prosecutors. This is why individuals apprehended during drug sweeps often receive generous plea offers in return for their cooperation. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may advise individuals in such situations to remain silent until their lawyers have had a chance to evaluate the strength of the evidence against them.