An Atlantic County Grand Jury has handed up an indictment against 30 defendants who were part of a Racketeer Influenced & Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, a large-scale drug distribution organization where $2.6 million in cash has been seized and three of the men named in the indictment are also charged in connection to the fatal February 2019 shooting of Demond Tally in Atlantic City, Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner announced.
According to officials, from March 2017 to the present date an investigation was conducted by the ACPO Guns, Gangs and Narcotics Unit into Steven Martinez, 27, and Shiraz Khan, 31, for operating a large-scale drug distribution organization in Atlantic County since 2016.
As the leaders of this organization Martinez and Khan supplied large quantities of narcotics, including, heroin, cocaine, Suboxone, Percocet and marijuana to be sold by various individuals who operated as drug dealers for the organization.
“The four-year investigation of the activities of the criminal organization led by Steven Martinez and Shiraz Kahn is a credit to the women and men of the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and many of the local law enforcement agencies that provided assistance, such as Egg Harbor Twp. Police Department, Atlantic City Police Department, and Galloway Twp. Police Department,” Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon G. Tyner said.
Officials said that Khan continued to operate this drug distribution organization while incarcerated at the Atlantic County Justice Facility by utilizing cellphones and narcotics he had smuggled into the jail by Correctional Police Officer Luis Mercado, 26.
Several other individuals in this investigation were previously arrested for possession of firearms and the distribution of CDS for the organization during the course of this investigation.
“The hard work by law enforcement culminated in the indictment of thirty individuals for numerous crimes, including but not limited to murder, distribution and possession of large quantities of drugs, and money laundering,” Prosecutor Tyner said.
Assets seized during the course of this extensive investigation include $2.6 million U.S. currency, eight parcels of land in locations, including Hamilton Township, Pleasantville and Buena Borough and three vehicles.
Khan, Martinez, and several other members of this organization were known to be armed and dangerous. In addition to narcotics offenses in the indictment Martinez, along with Shamar Scott, 25, and Deshawn Hose, 23, are responsible for the shooting and killing of Demond Tally, 45, Feb. 10, 2019.
Atlantic City Police Department responded to ShotSpotter at 5:13 a.m., on February 10, 2019, in the area of Presbyterian Avenue, in Atlantic City, where Tally was found shot. Tally was transported to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center City Campus Trauma Unit, where he was pronounced deceased.
Martinez, Scott and Hose are charged and have each been indicted with Murder and Conspiracy charges in connection to the fatal shooting of Tally.
“Effective partnerships between law enforcement agencies at all levels of government are essential to public safety," Atlantic City Police Interim Officer in Charge James A. Sarkos said. "This extensive investigation is an example of the great teamwork that exists here in Atlantic County. While we know that these charges will not bring their loved one back, we hope that this will bring some comfort and peace to the Tally family".
Investigations are ongoing in connection to other acts of violence committed by this organization.
This investigation and ongoing investigations are a cooperative effort by the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, Atlantic County High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, Atlantic City Police Department, Egg Harbor Township Police Department and Galloway Township Police Department.