A Collingswood man fingered as the leader of a drug and gun ring was indicted by a state grand jury Wednesday, along with five other South Jersey men accused in the cocaine network.
Nicholas C. Stens, 25, of Collingswood, stands accused in a 10-count indictment of charges that he led a plan to sell both cocaine and guns, according to New Jersey Attorney General Paula T. Dow. If convicted on all counts, Stens could face a maximum 106.5 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines.
“We have indicted the alleged head of this drug ring on charges that he not only sold large quantities of cocaine in South Jersey, but also illegally sold guns,” Dow said in a statement. “He faces first-degree narcotics charges, as well as serious weapons charges.”
Indicted alongside Stens on second-degree conspiracy to distribute cocaine are:
- Roberto L. Ortiz, 26, of Haddon Township;
- Joseph P. Hackney, 29, of Haddon Township;
- Dominick M. Leonetti Jr., 48, of Maple Shade;
- Robert A. Schafer, 25, of Maple Shade; and
- Eugene “Rick” Wilson, 43, of National Park
Hackney also was indicted on a charge of third-degree possession of cocaine. If convicted, Hackney could be sentenced to 15 years in a prison and $165,000 in fines.
The remaining four men face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine if convicted.
The six men in what authorities dubbed “Operation White Cloud.” According to reports, a home in the 100 block of Lawnside Avenue in Collingswood acted as a base for the drug and gun ring.
Authorities targeted the home for investigation in January after Stens reportedly sold a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun and ammunition to an undercover Voorhees officer. The same officer later bought cocaine and a 12-gauge shotgun from Stens, according to state police.
Police seized 22 ounces of cocaine valued at more than $20,000, $15,000 in cash and a vehicle during the investigation.
In addition to the conspiracy to distribute cocaine charge, Stens was indicted on:
- Two counts of distribution of cocaine (first degree)
- Possession of cocaine with intent to distribute (first degree)
- Two counts of distribution of cocaine within 500 feet of a public park (second degree)
- Unlawful possession of a handgun (second degree)
- Unlawful possession of a shotgun (third degree)
- Two counts of unlawful disposition of a firearm (fourth degree)
Operation White Cloud represented a cooperative investigation by the FBI/South Jersey Violent Offenders Gang Task Force, New Jersey State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, the Camden and Burlington county prosecutor’s offices, and police from , Haddon Township, Voorhees and Maple Shade.
“This is a good example of a coordinated, multi-agency investigation that targeted drug and gun trafficking,” Criminal Justice Director Stephen J. Taylor said. “We will continue to partner with law enforcement agencies at all levels to combat these twin threats to the public.”