By: Yuritza Arroyo
Federal officials announced that eight men were charged today for their roles in a drug trafficking organization operating in and around Union County.
According to federal authorities, Lance Baker, 54, of Perth Amboy; Rooks Crawford, 57, of Linden; Derrick Gilliam, 48, of Alburtis, Pennsylvania; Abinader Liriano-Balbuena, 37, of Bronx, New York; Michael Williams, 54, of Roselle; and Tyrone Gilliam, 60, Lewis Martinez-Berroa, 38, and Earl Riley, 58, all of Elizabeth, are each charged by superseding complaint with one count of conspiracy to distributed controlled substances.
Court documents state Baker, Crawford, Derrick Gilliam, Tyrone Gilliam, Martinez-Berroa, Riley, and Williams were part of a drug trafficking organization operating in and around Union County.
Law enforcement officers observed and documented dozens of narcotics transactions during the investigation.
According to officials, from July 2022 to March 2023, law enforcement officers seized more than 9,000 individual doses of fentanyl sold by the organization. Martinez-Berroa, Tyrone Gilliam, and Derrick Gilliam were the primary suppliers of fentanyl to the drug trafficking organization.
Officials say on March 21, law enforcement executed a series of judicially authorized searches at several locations used by the members of the conspiracy.
At a location in the Bronx, New York, law enforcement officials located a “mill” used to manufacture and package narcotics and recovered approximately 10 kilograms of a substance believed to be fentanyl.
The count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances with which each of the defendants is charged carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.