Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer has announced the culmination of a four-month-long cooperative, multi-jurisdictional investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, United States Drug Enforcement Administration – High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Group 5, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force,and New Jersey State Police – Trafficking Central Unit, in concert with many other state, county, and local law enforcement agencies.  “The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force managed and directed three simultaneous multi-agency investigations into high level cocaine distribution in Ocean, Monmouth, and Middlesex Counties, as well as New York City.  During the course of these investigations, approximately 50 additional law enforcement personnel were assigned to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force on a full-time basis.  Multiple agencies – both within and outside of Ocean County – assisted in every aspect of all three investigations.  The investigations, identified as “Operation Checkmate,” began in July 2021 and concluded this week,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated.

The three cocaine networks were responsible for the import of more than three kilograms of cocaine per week into the Ocean, Monmouth, and Middlesex County areas.  Through sophisticated surveillance methods and undercover operatives, “Operation Checkmate” was successful in disrupting and dismantling illicit controlled dangerous substance (CDS) distribution activities in these three counties, as well as New York City, by the following individuals: Luis Feliz, 41, of New York; James Hemenway (also known as “King James”), 43, of Morganville; Dale McCord, 44, of Manalapan; Mark Capichana, 54, of Hazlet; Mark Kelber, 44, of Manalapan; and Andrew Contaldi, 47, of Brick.  On October 26, 2021, “Operation Checkmate” closed with the apprehension of 24 individuals for various offenses involving distribution of controlled dangerous substances.  Additionally, 24 search warrants were executed resulting in the seizure of more than four kilograms of cocaine, over 15 pounds of marijuana, in excess of $650,000 in United States currency,  seven firearms (three handguns, three “ghost guns,” and one pistol grip shotgun), ten vehicles, and additional illegal narcotics. 

The following individuals were arrested as a result of Operation “Checkmate”:

Luis Feliz, 41, of New York, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; and Financial Facilitation.  Feliz is presently in custody in New York City, pending extradition to New Jersey.

James Hemenway, 43, of Morganville, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of MDMA in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce with Intent to Distribute; Possession of Psilocybin Mushrooms with Intent to Distribute; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Psilocybin Mushrooms; two counts of Financial Facilitation; and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.  Hemenway is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Dale McCord, 44, of Manalapan, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Psilocybin Mushrooms with Intent to Distribute; Possession of Psilocybin Mushrooms; Possession of Marijuana; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; Possession of a Weapon During Controlled Dangerous Substance Activity; Certain Person not to Possess a Firearm; three counts of Possession of a Large Capacity Ammunition Magazine; and two counts of Financial Facilitation.  McCord is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Mark Capichana, 54, of Hazlet, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Maintaining or Operating a Controlled Dangerous Substance Production Facility; Possession of Cocaine; and Financial Facilitation.  Capichana is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Mark Kelber, 44, of Manalapan, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute; two counts of Possession of Marijuana; Possession of Oxandrolone; Possession of Trenbolone; Possession of Drostanalone; Possession of Mesternolone; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; and Certain Person not to Possess a Firearm.  Kelber is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Andrew Contaldi, 47, of Brick Township, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; six counts of Distribution of Cocaine; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; and Financial Facilitation.  Contaldi is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Andre Johnson, 45, of Freehold, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce with Intent to Distribute; Possession of Cocaine; Maintaining or Operating a Controlled Dangerous Substance Production Facility; Financial Facilitation; and Witness Tampering.  Johnson is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Brian Contey, 41, of Brick Township, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce, and Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute.  Contey is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Tyrone Finch, 36, of Parlin, charged with Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute; Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce; Possession of Cocaine; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia; Financial Facilitation; Possession of a Weapon During Controlled Dangerous Substance Activity; Certain Person not to Possess a Firearm; and Possession of a Large Capacity Ammunition Magazine.  Finch is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.

Alex Johnson, 47, of Brick Township, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce.  Johnson was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.

George Sirleaf, 47, of Keyport, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce.  Sirleaf was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.

Terrence Brown, 44, of Matawan, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce.  Brown was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.

Irene Patelaros, 46, of Morganville, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce.  Patelaros was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.

John Dolan, 46, of Matawan, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce.  Dolan was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.

Shawn McCord, 25, of Matawan, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce.  McCord was charged on a warrant and released pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform.

Daniel Jeandron, 41, of Keyport, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce.  Jeandron was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

Alexander Nagy, 42, of Laurence Harbor, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce.  Nagy was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

John Sozomenou, 46, of Matawan, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce.  Sozomenou was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

Joseph Horvath, 33, of Toms River, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce.  Horvath was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

Christopher Lyons, 42, of Matawan, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce.  Lyons was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

Robert Dazinski, 59, of Hazlet, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce.  Dazinski was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

Diana Roman-Porpora, 54, of Howell, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce.  Roman-Porpora was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

Bobbie Parsells, 42, of Keyport, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce.  Parsells was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

Daniel Votapek, 36, of Point Pleasant, charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine in an Amount Greater than One-Half Ounce.  Votapek was charged on a summons and released pending a future court appearance.

“An investigation of this magnitude requires the cooperation of numerous law enforcement agencies and officers.”  Prosecutor Billhimer stated.  “Law enforcement officers at the local, county, state, and federal levels demonstrated outstanding teamwork in connection with this very wide-ranging, comprehensive investigation.  This team of professionals literally worked around the clock for the last several months with a singular goal in mind:  removing dangerous drug dealers from our streets.  I am so grateful for the resolve and dedication exhibited by all the Officers and Detectives involved in “Operation Checkmate,’” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.

Prosecutor Billhimer recognizes the following agencies for their collaborative assistance and cooperation with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force in connection with this investigation:

  • Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Asset Forfeiture Unit
  • Ocean County Regional SWAT Team
  • United States Drug Enforcement Administration – HIDTA Group 5
  • Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force
  • New Jersey State Police – Trafficking Central Unit
  • New Jersey State Police Teams Unit
  • New Jersey Air National Guard Counter Drug Task Force
  • Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Unit
  • Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force
  • Matawan Borough Police Department and
  • Matawan Borough Police Department K-9 Unit
  • Keyport Borough Police Department
  • Manalapan Township Police Department
  • Ocean County Sheriff’s Office
  • Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Field Services Unit
  • Ocean County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit
  • Barnegat Township Police Department
  • Brick Township Police Department Street Crimes Unit
  • Brick Township Police Department Special Response Team
  • Brick Township Police Department K-9 Unit
  • Beachwood Borough Police Department
  • Berkeley Township Police Department
  • Jackson Township Police Department
  • Lakewood  Township Police Department Drug Enforcement Unit
  • Lakewood Township Police Department Special Response Team
  • Lakewood Township Police Department K-9 Unit
  • Manchester Township Police Department Special Enforcement Team
  • Ocean Township Police Department (Waretown)
  • Point Pleasant Borough Police Department
  • South Toms River Police Department
  • Stafford Township Police Department
  • Toms River Township Police Department Special Enforcement Unit
  • Toms River Township Police Department Emergency Services Unit
  • Toms River Township Police K-9 Unit
  • Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office
  • Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit
  • Aberdeen Township Police Department
  • Asbury Park Police Department
  • Hazlet Township Police Department
  • Hazlet Township Police Department K-9 Unit
  • Keansburg Borough Police Department
  • Marlboro Township Police Department
  • Middletown Township Police Department
  • Sea Bright Borough Police Department
  • Old Bridge Township Police Department – Bureau of Narcotics
  • Union Beach Borough Police Department
  • Union Beach Borough Police Department K-9 Unit
  • New York City Police Department – 50 Precinct Field Intelligence Office
  • City of New York Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor

The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 

R.P.C. 3.6(b)(6).