Union County authorities search for alleged ringleader of Bloods street gang

The Star-Ledger

The Star-Ledger

By Julie O’Connor/The Star-Ledger
Thursday August 13, 2009, 6:15 PM

UNION COUNTY — Union County authorities are hunting for a Bloods ringleader who they say keeps giving them the slip but operated an aggressive drug ring out of Elizabeth that netted about $700,000 a week.

The elusive Luqman Abdullah, 27, has an extensive criminal history that includes 15 arrests and seven felony convictions for burglary, resisting arrest, manufacturing and distributing drugs, possession of an assault firearm and aggravated assault, authorities said.

He is believed to be armed and extremely dangerous.

Abdullah rose to prominence on the streets of Elizabeth after he helped kidnap a rival drug dealer in 2003, stuffed the man into the trunk of his car and shot him, according to Union County Prosecutor Theodore Romankow. He and three other Bloods members sprayed bullets into the trunk, shut it and left the Dodge Intrepid parked on the street, authorities said.

The victim survived and was discovered the next day by a truck driver who heard cries from the trunk.

Abdullah served jail time in connection with that shooting, but when he was released he allegedly further tightened his control of the cocaine trade in Elizabeth, then expanded into Newark neighborhood. Anyone selling cocaine on his turf had to purchase it from him, or face violent retaliation, authorities said.

Last November, authorities raided several of Abdullah’s alleged stash houses, arresting 15 people and recovering more than three kilos of cocaine, more than $80,000 in cash and a collection of guns that included a stolen AK-47 assault rifle, according to Romankow. Authorities said Abdullah was not found during the raids. The drug ring allegedly had been operating in Essex and Union counties and distributed at least two kilos of cocaine every week, with a street value of $350,000 per kilo.

The night of April 23, 2009, law enforcement officers attempted to arrest Abdullah in the parking lot of a mall in Edison. But Abdullah, a former Elizabeth high school track star and college football player, led police on a swift foot-chase through the mall parking lot, dashing across six lanes of traffic and into a large apartment complex, where officers said he disappeared in the dark amid dozens of buildings.

Authorities could not say why Abdullah allegedly went from athlete to drug ring operator. Nor could they say how Abdullah has managed to keep hiding from them.

But since the parking lot incident, he may have surfaced one other time. Authorities said Abdullah was spotted by several witnesses and informants at a Hot 97 Summer Jam concert in June. He apparently was sitting in the third row of at the concert, which was attended by 50,000 people.

Abdullah has been charged with racketeering, maintaining a narcotics production facility and numerous drug and weapons offenses. Once arrested, authorities said he will be held on $5 million bail.

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