Those charged (click on photos to read captions with the names of those arrested and what they were charged with) were arrested between April and August as part of a multi-agency five-month investigation, Morris County Acting Prosecutor Fredric Knapp announced Wednesday. The investigation was launched based on information that showed an increase in violence related to gang activities and open-air drug dealing throughout Morris County, Knapp said.
"Known members and associates of local street gangs and drug dealers, who had a history of such behavior, were identified as the alleged perpetrators of this illegal activity," Knapp's office said in a press release.
A task force was formed with investigative and legal staff from various departments of the Morris County Prosecutor's Office, as well as municipal officers from Morristown, Mount Olive, Roxbury and Florham Park. New Jersey State Police, who have jurisdiction in Victory Gardens, also assisted.
Knapp said the task force was able to identify target individuals to investigate and documented their allegedly illegal activities.
"As the result of tenaciously applying various investigative techniques, coupled with exemplary inter-agency cooperation, the Morris County Violent Crime Initiative arrested and charged 22 individuals who were allegedly conducting their illegal activities in residential areas of Morristown, Dover, Victory Gardens and Wharton," Knapp's office said.
Of the 22 individuals charged, 19 were classified as violent offenders with prior arrests and/or convictions for violent crimes; nine were classified as gang members and 10 were classified as gang associates.
“Under my administration, it is a priority of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, and those law enforcement agencies committed with us, to aggressively investigate and prosecute those individuals who promote violence in our communities, either through specific acts of violence or by associated behavior such as the distribution of illegal drugs," Knapp said. "These arrests clearly exemplify the tremendous impact of law enforcement agencies cooperating to better protect the people of Morris County.”