Four Ocean County residents have been arrested following a two-month investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutors Office Narcotics Strike Force and local police who broke up a drug ring, announced Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.

Investigators found Ronald Lawrence, 30,  Denisha Nash, 30, and Leashan Coleman, 29, of Barnegat and Carol Ann Budinski, 36, of Toms River in combined possession of 1,250 glassine envelopes of heroin, about 20 grams of cocaine, nearly $1,600.00 in cash and drug paraphernalia items including new glassine packets, sifters, stamps and rubber bands.

They've all been charged with distribution and possession while Lawrence gets the bonus charge for running a drug manufacturing facility.

The Strike Force Detectives, Ocean County SWAT and local police executed a no-knock search warrant on Tuesday at the home of Nash and Lawrence on North Main Street in Barnegat and placed them both under arrest.

Coleman was arrested and her home in Barnegat and Toms River Police along with Strike Force Detectives arrested Budinski in her Kia at a traffic stop between Route 37 and Mule Road.

Police executed a search warrant on her Kia and found copious amounts of cocaine in the vehicle.

The OCPO Strike Force was joined in this investigation by Barnegat Police, Lacey Police, Stafford Police, Toms River Police and the Ocean County SWAT Team.

The Strike Force will be battling the opioid epidemic under the direction of Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer, who released a statement following the arrests this week.

"I have reorganized the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Operations Group and restored its original name: the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Narcotics Strike Force.  This renaming and reorganization includes personnel changes and a re-dedication to aggressively pursuing persons trafficking in the sale illegal narcotics in Ocean County," Billhimer said. "Under my command, the Narcotics Strike Force will utilize and share intelligence with all of our law enforcement partners at the local, State and Federal levels. The strengthening of these relationships will be instrumental in our ongoing commitment to combat the onslaught of opioid abuse, addiction and overdoses in Ocean County.

My office will continue to pursue an “all hands on deck” approach in this endeavor, utilizing all resources available.  These resources will include a multi-lateral approach to education and access to treatment and recovery services.  Whether through my office, the Ocean County Health Department, local police departments, or our dedicated service providers, we will strive to educate our citizens, provide compassionate guidance and assistance to those suffering from addiction and provide access to treatment.

This compassion shall not apply to those individuals trafficking in the sale of illegal narcotics in Ocean County.  The continuing presence of Fentanyl and the alarming rise in opioid related overdoses has raised the stakes.  The Narcotics Strike Force will have a presence in every municipality."

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