Suspect Nabbed in “Operation Checkmate” Pleads Guilty

“Operation Checkmate” was a four-month-long cooperative, multi-jurisdictional investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, United States Drug Enforcement Administration – High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Group 5, Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, and New Jersey State Police – Trafficking Central Unit, in concert with many other state, county, and local law enforcement agencies.

“The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force managed and directed three simultaneous multi-agency investigations into high level cocaine distribution in Ocean, Monmouth, and Middlesex Counties, as well as New York City.

“During the course of these investigations, approximately 50 additional law enforcement personnel were assigned to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force on a full-time basis. Multiple agencies – both within and outside of Ocean County – assisted in every aspect of all three investigations. The investigations, identified as “Operation Checkmate,” began in July 2021 and concluded in October of 2021,” Ocean County Prosecutor Brad Billhimer stated.

The three cocaine networks were responsible for the import of more than three kilograms of cocaine per week into the Ocean, Monmouth, and Middlesex County areas. Through sophisticated surveillance methods and undercover operatives, “Operation Checkmate” was successful in disrupting and dismantling illicit controlled dangerous substance (CDS) distribution activities in these three counties, as well as New York City. On October 26, 2021, “Operation Checkmate” closed with the apprehension of 24 individuals for various offenses involving distribution of controlled dangerous substances. Additionally, 24 search warrants were executed resulting in the seizure of more than four kilograms of cocaine, over 15 pounds of marijuana, in excess of $650,000 in United States currency, seven firearms (three handguns, three “ghost guns,” and one pistol grip shotgun), ten vehicles, and additional illegal narcotics.

On October 26, 2021, Detectives executed a court authorized search warrant on Contaldi’s residence in Brick Township. As a result of the warrant, Detectives seized approximately 397 grams of cocaine and $19,500 from Contaldi’s residence. Contaldi was arrested at the residence and has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since that date.

Today, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Andrew Contaldi, 47, of Brick Township, pled guilty to Possession of Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute. At the time of his sentencing on August 12, 2022, the State will be recommending a term of ten years New Jersey State Prison.

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