3 from Collingswood Collared in Camden Drug Bust

Kyle J. Cerone, Michael R. Marengo and Anthony Calabrese were all arrested for allegedly loitering to obtain drugs in a high-traffic area of the city.

Collingswood residents Kyle J. Cerone, 21, Michael R. Marengo, Jr., 26, and Anthony Calabrese, 26, were among 142 patrons of Camden City open-air drug markets arrested in “Operation Padlock,” reported the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office in a press release Monday.

All three were charged with loitering for the purposes of obtaining a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), a disorderly persons offense under New Jersey law.

Operation Padlock is described by the prosecutor’s office as an initiative that coordinates “police action with public works and community organizations to eliminate the drug trade in a targeted area.”

Authorities say the policing strategy has paid dividends, leading to more than 250 arrests on charges ranging from drug distribution to municipal summonses, the confiscation of $16,000 in cash and $20,000 in narcotics, the towing of nearly 70 vehicles, and the closure of a Chinese restaurant for health code violations.

More importantly, the statement reported, Operation Padlock helped nab four individuals accused of distributing PCP, the powerful hallucinogen ingredient in “wet,” a drug that has been a factor in a pair of recent and violent child murders in the city.

“In addition to the PCP crisis, Padlock's efforts are an attempt to establish safe corridors for our communities,” police Chief Scott Thomson said in a statement issued with the announcement. “It’s critical to create a city where children can feel safe walking to and from school.”

Tipsters are invited to contact the Citizens Crime Commission at 215-546-TIPS (546-8477). Two individuals have been paid $500 for their help in locating the PCP dealers, the prosecutor’s office reports.

Robert Bingaman September 11, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Everyone always blames Camden for the problems. But, as you can see the REAL problems are those who GO to Camden to buy drugs.
Future Old Angry Italian Guy September 11, 2012 at 01:31 PM
You're right. There's nothing wrong with Camden. It's an ideal place to live and raise a family. I'm very surprised why it's not recommended as the most appealing place to live in America year after year. You must know much more than those ridiculous surveys.
Joseph Forrest September 11, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Camden is a stewing cesspool. The city and its residents jump at every chance to place the blame elsewhere. So some kids wanted to buy drugs! What's your point? Are you seriously implying that those white yuppies are responsible for all the ills of Camden? Get a grip. The problems lie with the parents, civic leaders (or lack thereof), and the government of Camden. The REAL problem is with the city residents and government - everyone is so apathetic, illogical, defensive, complacent, corrupt, and delusional. The only good people in Camden are those that can't afford to move out, or those that want to be heroes in hood. The problems in Camden are so severe and so nightmarish; it's no wonder why people can't come to grips with the reality of the situation.
Ruth Rouff September 11, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Camden is the poster child for industrial collapse in America. Years ago there were roughly 20,000 manufacturing jobs in the city; today there are less than 1,000. I'm thinking of all the jobs that have left...shipyard jobs, Campbell's Soup plant jobs, RCA jobs. I know a person whose mother worked for RCA for 40 years. Those jobs are gone. It's not helpful to blame the victims. I know young people who are desperate for jobs. Sure they exhibit dysfunctional behaviors. But if there were more jobs, those behaviors would gradually disappear.
Ruth Rouff September 11, 2012 at 08:48 PM
I might add that many of the jobs were outsourced to places with cheaper labor; i.e.. China, Mexico, and other low-wage countries.
Joseph Forrest September 11, 2012 at 09:50 PM
@Ruth, you are very right. I, too, had family that worked at RCA. It's a shame to see how low the city has fallen. While I agree with your statement regarding jobs, I disagree that jobs=prosperity. The pit of despair in Camden is rooted in social, cultural, and familial issues, just as much as it is financial. Give everyone in Camden $1Million tomorrow and the issues of dysfunction, poverty, and inequality still exist. I owned businesses in Camden, and I did a 10 year "stint" living in Camden. Unfortunately I know firsthand what the city is really like. It's a shame - words cannot describe what goes on.
Ruth Rouff September 12, 2012 at 06:23 PM
I think the social, cultural, and familial issues are a result of industrial collapse. If, by a miracle, a large factory opened in Camden paying decent wages and offering jobs that weren't highly technical, I think that would be a powerful incentive for Camden residents to overcome their personal problems. I've taught at a GED program in Camden for the past three years and am quite familiar with what goes on.
Loretka September 13, 2012 at 01:40 AM
I grew up in Camden, and raised my kids in Camden. It was a great place to live. Back in the day, I remember the people in my Polish neighborhood (Whitman Park) walking or taking a short bus trip to their jobs in the many factories in Camden. In addition to RCA & Campbell's Soup, there were cigar factories, clothing manufacturers, MacAndrews & Forbes paper mill and licorice works, paint manufacturers, leather works, etc., etc. It's a damn shame those factories gradually closed down. But much of the destruction of Camden was a result of government programs and crooked politicians.
lin rowe September 15, 2012 at 08:13 PM
BUGJUICE SAME AS MANY WE WERE RAISED in Camden then we made our own decisions as anyone els in the world so iI don't put blame no where let's get a solution


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