Mercer County Prosecutor’s Detectives Arrest Trenton’s H-Block in Operation Eight-Ball

January 14, 2021

By: Tyler Eckel

Six-Month Investigation Yields 18 Arrests, Guns, $228,000 in Drugs

TRENTON (MERCER): Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri today announced that a six month, multi-jurisdictional investigation of narcotics distribution and violent crime in the  Mercer County area has culminated with the arrest of 18 individuals and the seizure of  approximately 1,000 grams of heroin, 1,000 grams of methamphetamine, 15 pounds of  marijuana, 11 guns, six vehicles and more than $22,000 in cash.  

“Operation Eight-Ball was an enormous investigative endeavor and as a result, many  violent offenders have been taken off of the street,” said Prosecutor Onofri. “I cannot  thank our many law enforcement partners enough for their dedication and assistance in  providing safer neighborhoods for the residents of Trenton and Mercer County.” 

“Our law enforcement challenges this year required a coordinated plan, and I’m thankful  for the city, county, state, and federal officers who stepped up to make Trenton a safer  place to live,” said Trenton Police Director Sheilah A. Coley. “In just this operation alone,  their hard work yielded multiple firearms, high-capacity magazines, kilograms of  narcotics, and more than 15 arrests, six of which are connected to several homicides.  This multi-tiered response awaits any criminal group that seeks to plague our streets with  drugs and violence.”

“This investigation makes clear the violence associated with drug trafficking,” said Susan  A. Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey  Division. “Those targeted in this investigation brought violence and misery to the residents  of Mercer County. Their arrests have made the community safer, and DEA will continue  to work with our partners to pursue those who violate the law.” 

“In the spring of 2020, as the number of shootings and homicides in Trenton began  increasing at an alarming rate, we set out to expose trends and connections that might  be responsible for triggering the uptick in violence,” said Prosecutor Onofri. 

The Mercer County Narcotics Task Force, the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and  the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Economic Crime Unit, along with the Drug Enforcement  Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation,  and many state, county and local police agencies, began their hard-hitting investigation  a short time later and dubbed the job “Operation Eight-Ball,” representing the eight-ball  logo used by Trenton’s H-Block, a violent criminal street gang responsible for numerous  shootings and murders in the city. According to Prosecutor Onofri, the initial investigation  focused on the alleged drug activities of H-Block, and through informant information,  controlled buys, surveillances and intelligence, authorities were able to obtain and  execute more than 40 warrants of individuals, vehicles and locations in New Jersey and  Pennsylvania.  

On November 4, 2020, search warrants were executed and arrests were made as this  investigation progressed. On this day, an undercover officer made arrangements to  purchase a quantity of heroin from Joseph Kaite. After conducting the narcotics  transaction with the undercover detective at a gas station on North Olden Avenue in  Trenton, detectives attempted to arrest Kaite, however, he fled in his vehicle. When  detectives attempted to stop Kaite, he collided with a police vehicle causing heavy  damage to both vehicles. He then attempted to flee on foot but was apprehended after a  brief struggle. Also arrested inside the vehicle were Vincent Bowman and Zaire Jones.  Search warrants related to the investigation were subsequently executed and detectives  located 30 bricks of heroin and a shotgun. At an apartment on Beakes Street in Trenton,  detectives located evidence related to murder of Derek Colley that resulted in homicide  charges being filed against Kaite and Tabika Hale. 

The investigation continued into 2021 and last week, search warrants were executed at  locations in Trenton and Ewing, New Jersey, and Bristol and Morrisville, Pennsylvania.  Prior to the execution of these warrants, surveillance officers followed Deshawn Abner as  he traveled by cab from Bond Street in Trenton to the Extended Stay Motel on Route 1 in  West Windsor where Abner and a second individual, identified as Aziz Stroman, were

observed searching a wooded area around the hotel. After searching the area for about  30 minutes, Abner was seen retrieving a box containing 210 bricks of heroin from the  bushes in the hotel parking lot. After retrieving the package, Abner entered the Mercedes  Benz Stroman had arrived in, and the two men departed the area. Arrest teams converged  on the area and both Abner and Stroman were eventually detained after attempting to  flee. A search warrant for Stroman’s Mercedes Benz was obtained and detectives located  210 bricks of heroin on the front passenger floor. Both Abner and Stroman were charged  with first-degree narcotic offenses. 

After Abner and Stroman were taken into custody, detectives contacted officers in Pennsylvania who had an individual identified as Ricardo Moise under observation.  Through the investigation, authorities had pinpointed Moise as the supplier of heroin to  North Trenton. At that time, Moise was seen moving items out of his apartment on Beaver  Street in Bristol Township, and detectives from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office, with assistance from Bucks County District Attorney’s Office and the Bristol Borough  Police Department, arrested him for outstanding warrants as a result of distributing 75  bricks of heroin to an undercover officer in the spring of 2020. Search warrants were  subsequently executed at related locations. 

According to Prosecutor Onofri, the total retail value of the confiscated drugs is $228,000.  The heroin is valued at $60,000; the methamphetamine is valued at $100,000; and the  marijuana at $68,000. 

In addition to the narcotics, authorities also seized 11 guns, six vehicles and  approximately $22,000 in cash. Approximately 24 bank accounts in connection to the investigation were frozen and continue to be investigated by the Mercer County  Prosecutor’s Economic Crime Unit. 



As a result of this cooperative investigation, the following arrests were made with the  listed charges:  

Ricardo Moise, 31, Bristol, Pa. – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Deshawn Abner, 31, Trenton – Numerous narcotic- and weapons-related offenses

Daishawn Dickerson, 30, Trenton – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Aziz Stroman, 31, Trenton – Numerous narcotic- and weapons-related offenses

Zaire Jones, 20, Trenton – Conspiracy 

Vincent Bowman, 20, Trenton – Conspiracy 

Kashawn Batts, 33, Trenton – Numerous weapons-related offenses

Jaquane Leonard, 32, Trenton – Numerous weapons-related offenses

Joseph Kaite, 19, Trenton – Homicide, numerous narcotic and weapons offenses

Tabika Hale, 26, Trenton – Homicide and weapons offenses 

Aniyah Boone, 20, Bensalem, Pa. – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Casimer Phillips, 22, Newtonville – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Kevonte Bivens, 23, Montgomery, Alabama – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Aleque Williams-Dixon, 21, Blackwood – Numerous narcotic-related offenses

Prince Attoh, 20, Trenton – Numerous narcotic-related offenses 

Additionally, information obtained during Operation Eight-Ball directly linked Tyzir Hamilton, 19, Treizon Thompson, 20, and Darnell Davis, 19, to the murders of William  Irizarry and Julius Vargas. Arrest warrants for the three defendants were obtained in  October 2020 and search warrants were also executed at several locations, which led to  the recovery of several weapons. 

Operation Eight-Ball developed over six months of investigation. It initiated with the  Mercer County Narcotics Task Force, the Mercer County Homicide Task Force and the  Mercer County Prosecutor’s Economic Crime Unit, and received support and resources  from 16 additional agencies including: 

  • Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Homeland Security Investigations
  • New Jersey State Police Crime Suppression Central
  • Mercer County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bucks County District Attorney’s Office (PA)
  • Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office
  • Ewing Police Department
  • Hamilton Police Department
  • Lawrence Police Department
  • Princeton Police Department
  • Robbinsville Police Department
  • Trenton Police Department
  • West Windsor Police Department
  • Bristol Borough Police Department (PA)
  • The College of New Jersey Police Department

In the interest of investigative security and pursuant to established court requirements,  the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office is limited in discussing specific details regarding  the ongoing investigation and the alleged conspiracies. Despite having been charged, all  persons are presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court  of law.