Camden officials raid several area bodegas

October 11, 2012 4:47:21 PM PDT
Officers and agents in Camden searched several corner stores for bootleg cigarettes. They say many bodegas are a key factor in the war on drugs.

In an effort to suppress violent criminal activity in North Camden, authorities have targeted a number of Bodegas believed to be fueling the area drug trade.

They are accused of fencing stolen goods for drug dealers and their customers.

"Electronic, cigarettes, anything they can sell," said Sgt. Wayne McFadden.

Camden Police, in conjunction with the Prosecutor's office and the U.S. Treasury Department, raided a number of neighborhood convenience stores, more commonly known as Bodegas suspected of selling stolen goods.

"Some of this is coming from overseas, and some of this is coming from down south as well, where it is bought pre-tax," said Camden Police Chief J. Scott Thomson

Authorities say Bodegas are being used as fencing operations to sell stolen goods for the drug trade.

"They sell things in the store and then run out and buy drugs. It becomes a big problems when they think this is where they can come in Camden to sell all of their stolen goods," Sgt. McFadden explained.

The Northgate 1 Supermarket and Deli was among the 6 stores targeted. Undercover officers bought and sold cigarettes that lacked the proper tax stamps on them, as well as other items.

"Three infractions in one year will close you down permanently under my codes," said Ilraida Afanador, from Camden Code Enforcement. "That is why we are working police. People deserve good grocery stores, good Bodegas, good supermarkets that they can go into without feeling afraid that drug dealers are dealing from within their stores."

One store, Sasha's at 4th and York, has been ordered to shut down by Code Enforcement.

In addition, police arrested four people in the effort known as "Operation Padlock."

They also warn merchants to beware. The crackdown will continue.


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