A Cherry Hill woman who ran the New Jersey operations of a Jamaica-based international cocaine ring was arrested along with nine others by New Jersey State Police and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), authorities announced Thursday.
Marsha Bernard, 28, was a major player in the drug ring, authorities said, working closely with ringleader Andrew Davis, 34, of Kingston, Jamaica, and his brother, Kemar Davis, 22, of Hollywood, CA, to move large amounts of drugs between Jamaica, California and New Jersey.
A two-year investigation into the ring focused on the Davis brothers, authorities said, who shipped drugs from California to Bernard, who then dealt with lower-level drug traffickers who bought roughly a kilogram of cocaine at a time.
Bernard handled the proceeds from those sales and sent them on to Kemar and Andrew Davis, authorities said.
The investigation into Bernard and others connected with the ring started in March 2011, authorities said, when detectives and agents from the Camden High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, along with the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office, seized eight kilograms of cocaine split into two packages at a mail facility in Marlton, which they said was destined for Bernard and Andrew Davis.
Over the next two years, DEA agents and State Police went on to document meetings between Bernard and others, including James McBride, 40, of Mount Laurel, and Sidonie McLeod, 28, of Cherry Hill, which authorities said were set up to handle moving multiple kilograms of cocaine.
Two Vineland residents—Angel Rivera, 35, and Juan Cortez 41—were arrested on March 11 of this year after Bernard delivered a kilogram of cocaine to them in Cherry Hill, authorities said.
Four days later, Bernard and three others, including McLeod, were arrested when State Police detectives and DEA agents executed a series of search and arrest warrants in Cherry Hill and Mount Laurel, authorities said, just as another large shipment of cocaine was arriving from California.
That same day, authorities arrested Kemar Davis in Los Angeles.
In total, detectives recovered more than 26 kilograms of cocaine, worth approximately $780,000, two handguns, and more than $600,000 in cash; while authorities said that was a significant bust, it only represented a small amount of the drugs brought into the United States by the Davis brothers' organization.
Andrew Davis, who had been in Jamaica since leaving the United States in 2012, was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Los Angeles on Sept. 16, and he was extradited to New Jersey on Oct. 8.
“These international cocaine traffickers were using major parcel shippers to put their poison on the streets of New Jersey, where it fueled all of the secondary crimes and violence that are inextricably linked to drug dealing,” said New Jersey Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman in a statement. “With this outstanding multi-agency investigation, we have ‘stopped shipment’ on this drug syndicate and made our communities safer.”
Andrew Davis, Kemar Davis and Bernard were each charged with money laundering, distribution of cocaine, conspiracy and leading a narcotics trafficking network, and were taken to the Camden County Jail on $500,000 bail.
Also arrested in the sting were:
- McBride, who was charged with distribution of cocaine, money laundering and conspiracy, and was taken to the Camden County Jail on $400,000 bail.
- Angel River, 35, of Vineland, who was charged with possession with the intent to distribute and conspiracy, and taken to the Camden County Jail on $350,000 bail.
- Juan Cortez, 41, of Vineland, who was charged with possession with the intent to distribute and conspiracy, and taken to the Camden County Jail on $350,000 bail.
- Shelly Ann Brown, 34, of Trenton, who was charged with distribution of cocaine and conspiracy and taken to the Camden County Jail on $250,000 bail.
- Sidonie McLeod, 28, of Cherry Hill, who was charged with distribution of cocaine and conspiracy and taken to the Camden County Jail on $250,000 bail.
- Hioka Myrie, 33, of Philadelphia, who was charged with conspiracy and released on her own recognizance.