02/22/2007

N.J. police seize 88 lbs. of pot in raid

By Tom Haydon
Newark Star-Ledger

A North Brunswick man is being sought by police after investigators raided his condominium and found 88 pounds of marijuana - worth more than $350,000 - stored in his bedroom walk-in closet, authorities said yesterday.

"This is one of the largest marijuana seizures in Middlesex County in recent memory," Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said.

Michael Hall, 35, who lived on Wimbledon Court in the Governor's Point development, had been supplying customers from Middlesex to Essex counties, Kaplan said.

Hall was not home when the officers raided his residence at 9 p.m. Friday and remains at large, police said. Officers also seized a loaded Ruger 9-mm semiautomatic handgun, and $5,610 cash, police said.

Most of the marijuana was in four tightly-packed, 20-pound boxes, said Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Cindy Glazer. There were also eight separate bags of marijuana, said Glazer, who was logging the drugs into evidence at the prosecutor's office yesterday.

"You can smell it everywhere in the office," Glazer said.

Members of the prosecutor's office narcotics task force and the North Brunswick and New Brunswick police departments participated in the three-month investigation that led to Friday's raid.

Alvin Smith, 65, of Roselle, and Khalifa Ali, 27, of Newark, were arrested at the condominium and each was charged with possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana. Each was released, pending a court hearing.

Another man, Hymie Reid, 21, who also lived in Hall's condominium, surrendered to police yesterday and was also charged with possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana, police said. Reid was not involved in Hall's drug operation and was released pending a court hearing, police said.

Hall, who is originally from Jamaica, faces arrest on a charge of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. Bail on the arrest warrant was set at $200,000.

Authorities ask that anybody with information about Hall call Sgt. Steve Weitz of the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office at (732) 745-3300.

Copyright 2007 Newark Morning Ledger Co.
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