ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The leader of a Bloods street gang in New Jersey turned himself in to authorities this weekend, and was ordered held on $5 million charges bail on charges that he ran a major drug ring.
Luqman Abdullah, 31, was charged with first-degree racketeering and first-degree maintaining a narcotics production facility, as well as several drug and weapon offenses, Union County, N.J. prosecutors said Sunday.
Abdullah allegedly ran a major drug ring in Elizabeth, and was involved along with three other men in the shooting of a rival drug dealer in the trunk of his car, prosecutors said.
Abdullah and his alleged accomplices were convicted in the shooting, but afterward, he gained what prosecutors called a “bloody stranglehold” on the cocaine trade in Elizabeth and later Newark.
“Anyone who sold cocaine on Abdullah’s turf had to purchase it from him or face violent retaliation,” Union County prosecutors said.
Abdullah was convicted again for possession of a machine gun and cocaine in his Newark apartment in 2006, prosecutors said. His co-defendant in that case was later gunned down in Newark, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors did not specify the sentences Abdullah received for the crimes, or how he ended up back on the street in such a short time.
The Union County Narcotics Strike Force started probing Abdullah’s drug operation in November 2008, and raided several Newark apartments the following year that contained only drugs, guns and equipment to cut and process cocaine.
Prosecutors said the drug ring, which operated in Essex and Union counties, put at least two kilos of cocaine on the street every week, with a street value of $350,000 per kilo.
In their probe of the ring, Operation Red Zone, police arrested 21 associates and seized over $80,000 in drug proceeds, as well as an AK-47 stolen from North Carolina, three handguns and “massive” amounts of cocaine.
In April 2009, police tried to arrest Abdullah in the parking lot of a mall in Edison, N.J. But the former Elizabeth High School track star and college football player led officers on a chase through the mall parking lot, across a busy six-lane road, and into an apartment complex where he ultimately got away.
Afterward, police obtained a warrant and launched an all-out search that was even featured on “America’s Most Wanted,” prosecutors said.
Abdullah’s criminal history includes 15 prior arrests and seven convictions for a variety of crimes.
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