By John Burton
FREEHOLD – A Matawan man has been handed a life sentence in prison for his role as a drug kingpin responsible for overseeing a major heroin distribution ring in Monmouth County’s Bayshore area, authorities said.
Dectric Rawls, 32, will have to serve at least 25 years in state prison before being considered for parole for his conviction as a “leader of a narcotics trafficking network,” under the state’s drug kingpin statute, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
Along with the life sentence, Superior Court Judge Francis P. Vernoia handed down an additional eight-year prison term on Friday, Aug. 17, for Rawls’ conviction on possession of a firearm in the course of committing a drug offense. That second degree offense, authorities said, would require Rawls to serve at least four years in prison before being considered for parole, and must be served consecutively to his other sentence.
Rawls pleaded guilty to the charges on April 30. The charges stem from a multi-department investigation that began in July 2008 and resulted in the arrest of 19 people on Nov. 16, 2009, according to the prosecutor’s office. Another six codefendants were subsequently arrested and charged.
The investigation involved detectives from the Middlesex Prosecutor’s Office, officers from the Sayreville and Old Bridge police departments and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office’s Bayshore Narcotics Task Force, which includes officers from Keansburg, Union Beach, Atlantic Highlands, Highlands, Hazlet, Matawan, Keyport, Middletown, Aberdeen and Holmdel.
The task force’s investigation determined that Rawls’ operation was responsible for selling about 100 bricks of heroin, with a street value of approximately $25,000, per week. A brick contains 50 bags or packets of heroin, authorities said.
During a search of Rawls’ Fredwood Place home in Matawan at the time of his arrest, investigators seized approximately 63 bricks of heroin, a Lorcin .380 caliber automatic handgun and $28,766 in cash. The seized drug bricks had a street value of about $15,000.
The search of Rawls’ home led investigators to a facility on Highway 9, Morganville, rented by Rawls, where, investigators discovered a safe containing $258,491.