TOMS RIVER – An Ocean County man was sentenced to life in prison on drug trafficking convictions, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said Tuesday.
Daryel Rawls, 38, of Lakewood, was sentenced June 7 to life imprisonment and 25 years parole ineligibility for leading a narcotics trafficking network.
Judge Rochelle Gizinski also imposed a consecutive 10-year term with a 5-year parole disqualifier for conspiracy to possess heroin with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute heroin, and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
In all, Rawls must serve a minimum of 30 years in prison before he can be considered for parole.
Rawls operated under the names “Z” or “Zito,” according to authorities. He was the target of a wiretap investigation “Operation Baked Zito,” which eventually led to 25 persons being charged. At the time of his arrest, Rawls had more than 1,100 wax folds of heroin and a 26-gram bag of cocaine.
He failed to appear in court on March 22, 2017, when he was convicted in absentia by a jury, and was a fugitive before he was found in Milford, Connecticut on Dec. 12, 2018.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer said Rawls filed a motion for a new trial, a motion Gizinski denied.