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More than 100 people were arrested in a series of early morning raids in three states aimed at bringing down a major drug trafficking network whose operation was centered mainly in Morris County, authorities said.
Dubbed "Operation Redirect" the arrests began shortly before 5:30 a.m. when SWAT officers in Kissimmee, Fla., outside Orlando, stormed a single-story house and arrested Ovie N. "Tony" Lattimore, 50, a former Morris County resident who police said was one of the leaders of the ring, which mostly distributed cocaine and oxycondone.
At the same time, authorities in New Jersey and New York armed with search warrants began knocking on -- and in some cases knocking down -- doors of suspects. One of those, George R. Washington, 43, of Morristown, was identified as another leader of the ring.
Officers seized large amount of drugs and money during the raids along with several weapons and vehicles, authorities said.
By mid-morning about 100 people were in custody and arrests continued into last evening. Most of the New Jersey arrests were made in Morris County. Others were made in Essex, Sussex and Warren counties, authorities said.
Many of those arrested were charged with possession and/or distribution of cocaine or oxycodone, a narcotic pain killer. Others were charged with possession and/or distribution of marijuana or heroin, authorities said.
Lattimore and Washington were charged with being leaders of the network. Both were being held on $350,000 bail and Lattimore was awaiting extradition back to New Jersey, authorities said.
About 400 officers from three dozen local, state and federal law enforcement agencies in three states participated in the raids.