OCEAN COUNTY – A Keyport man has pleaded guilty to dealing cocaine after a four-month investigation titled “Operation Checkmate” connected him to a drug network.
Mark Capichana, 55, pled guilty to Conspiracy to Possess Cocaine in an Amount Greater than Five Ounces with Intent to Distribute, as well as Financial Facilitation of Criminal Activity.
At the time of his sentencing on June 30, the State will be seeking a term of seven years New Jersey State Prison (NJSP) as to the Narcotics charge and seven years NJSP as to the Financial Facilitation charge.
On October 26, 2021, detectives searched Capichana’s home in Keyport as well as a business operated by Capichana, also located in Keyport. Law enforcement seized about approximately 1,455 grams of cocaine as well as $166,000. Capichana was brought to the Ocean County Jail, and later released as a consequence of New Jersey Bail Reform.
“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,” Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said.
The investigations, identified as “Operation Checkmate,” began in July 2021 and concluded in October of 2021, Billhimer stated.
According to officials, 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.
On October 26, 2021, 24 people were arrested for various offenses involving distribution of drugs.
In addition, 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, seven firearms (three handguns, three “ghost guns,” and one pistol grip shotgun), 10 vehicles and additional illegal narcotics.