Cops: Local Crime Family Members Had Drugs, Guns

TOMS RIVER – Two members of a crime family who lived in Toms River were charged in a cocaine distribution scheme, police reported.

  Mario Galli III, 27, and Jason Vella, 37, both of Toms River, were described as “associate members” of the DeCavalcante crime family by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Mario Galli (Photo courtesy Ocean County Jail)

  According to the police, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office executed search warrants on each of their homes on Sept. 19. They found more than 150 grams of cocaine and drug paraphernalia, including digital scales, glassine envelopes, a money counter, baking soda, grinders, and $2,295 in cash. Also recovered from Galli’s residence was a FEG 9mm Model PGK-9HP gun loaded with 12 rounds of ammunition. At the time, Galli was on supervised release from a 2016 federal conviction for conspiracy to distribute in excess of 500 grams of cocaine.

Jason Vella (Photo courtesy Ocean County Jail)

  As a result, both men were charged with one count of Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine. Galli was charged with one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and one count of Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime. Both men are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

  The drug charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The weapons charges could be five and ten years each, served on top of the drug charges, and a total of $500,000 in fines more.

  U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito credited the members of the FBI’s Organized Crime Task Force under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark; and investigators from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer, with the investigation leading to the charges.