"We believe that Kinston had hundreds of lower level individuals, gang members, who reported directly and indirectly to him on guns and narcotics trafficking," New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram said.
Authorities say the year-long, multi-agency investigation targeting Kinston and a dozen other associates was called Operation Fire Extinguisher.
"The brand name on some of the heroin that was sold was Fire and what these gang members were doing were they were trading Fire, the heroin for weapons," Major William Toms of the New Jersey State Police said.
Police learned that last month a shipment of guns would be driven from North Carolina to Kinston's apartment in New Jersey. They were found in a hidden, hydraulically operated compartment under the back seat of a car allegedly driven by 25-year-old Torrey Grady of Leeland, North Carolina.
"We basically just cut the wires, hooked up a jumper cable and used our own battery to open it up," Detective Tom DeVirgillis of the New Jersey State Police said.
Ronald Kinston's neighbors say they noticed his ankle monitoring bracelet, but are surprised by the charges against him.
"He was quiet. No one ever came to see him. I've never seen that type of action so I don't know how they could say he was a kingpin," Lasheda Grenwood of Burlington City, New Jersey said.
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