Kearny man 1 of 4 sentenced in I-78 drug drive-thru ring

A Kearny man was one of four sentenced after they were convicted in a narcotics trafficking ring that operated in a neighborhood near I-78 in Newark, where they sold drugs to motorists exiting the highway to make “drive-thru” purchases of heroin, Attorney General Matthew Platkin said.

The illegal ring was dismantled as a result of an eight-month investigation led by the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) in 2018.

The four men pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme on May 2, 2022. In a hearing before Superior Court Judge Harold W. Fullilove Jr. in Essex County on Sept. 9, 2022, they were sentenced as follows:

  • Dashon Coleman, 40, of Kearny, was sentenced to an aggregate term of 14 years in state prison, including a 42-month period of parole ineligibility. He pleaded guilty to first-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS) with intent to distribute and second-degree unlawful possession of an assault weapon.
  • Hashawn Landrum, 42, of Newark, was sentenced to an aggregate term of 10 years in state prison, including a 42-month period of parole ineligibility. He pleaded guilty to first-degree possession of CDS with intent to distribute and second-degree possession of a firearm in the commission of a CDS offense.
  • Lamon Thomas, 50, of Newark, was sentenced to seven years in state prison. He pleaded guilty to first-degree possession of CDS with intent to distribute.
  • Quameer Elamin, 30, of Newark, was sentenced to an aggregate term of five years in state prison, including a 42-month period of parole ineligibility. He pleaded guilty to first-degree possession of CDS with intent to distribute and second-degree unlawful possession of an assault weapon.

The four men were arrested in December 2018, following “Operation Drive-Through” investigation targeting a drug distribution operation based on Ridgewood Avenue in Newark. The investigation also resulted in the seizure of two AR-15 assault rifles, 10 handguns, one tactical shotgun, seven large capacity ammunition magazines, over 100,000 bags of heroin, more than a kilogram of crack and powder cocaine and more than $195,000 in cash.

“These defendants operated a large-scale drug trafficking operation in a residential neighborhood and put significant quantities of heroin into our communities,” Platkin said. “I commend the detectives and prosecutors who worked together to take down this illegal operation and bring the defendants to justice. Their hard work not only held these men accountable, it made life safer for this Newark community, prevented thousands of potentially fatal doses of heroin from reaching users across the region, and removed dangerous guns from the street.”

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.