A Camden County Police officer was one of 32 people arrested in a takedown of two independent drug-trafficking organizations working at the Jersey Shore, state police announced today.

Officer Matthew Van Houten, 28, of Pennsauken, was arrested April 28. Following questioning by troopers, Van Houten was charged with possession of cocaine while he was employed as an officer. He resigned the same day, police said. He is not suspected of drug dealing.
Van Houten was a two-year veteran of the county force, had earned a salary of $56,115, and previously had worked as an officer at the Jersey Shore.
The investigation that snared Van Houten, dubbed “Operation Tidal Wave,” was launched in October. Troopers and DEA agents netted more than four kilograms of cocaine, three ounces of heroin, 16 pounds of marijuana, 1,000 doses of Xanax, OxyContin and ecstasy, steroids, a handgun, seven vehicles, and about $125,000 in cash.

"These drug dealers trafficked in serious volume, as demonstrated by the large stash of drugs we seized in this joint operation," said Elie Honig, director of the N.J. Division of Criminal Justice. "[W]e have shut down a significant pipeline through which heroin, oxycodone and other deadly and addictive drugs were entering these Shore communities."

Troopers described the Scattaglia Network as a sophisticated operation that distributed primarily cocaine in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Ed Scattaglia Jr., the alleged ringleader of the network, operated from his Middletown home, where troopers said he supplied middlemen with cocaine for redistribution. Scattaglia, 39, was charged with leading a narcotics trafficking network and multiple drug counts.

The second group, the Beachwood Network, allegedly operated out of Beachwood Township and ran a heroin mill in Seaside Heights. Troopers said the Beachwood group was associated with a second mill in Elizabeth which kept the organization supplied with cocaine.

Among the arrested were William T. Hiering III, 31, the son of a prominent Seaside Heights attorney, who was charged with loitering with intent to possess a controlled dangerous substance. Albert E. Logan, 28, an employee of the Ocean County Road Department, was charged with hindering apprehension and loitering with intent to possess.

Contact Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or samwood@phillynews.com. Follow @samwoodiii on Twitter.
Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.