The heroin epidemic has been at the forefront of New Jersey's war on on drugs, but use of the once popular 1980's "party" drug — cocaine — appears to be resurfacing.

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A California truck driver was sentenced in Middlesex County this week to 12 years in prison for money laundering and smuggling multiple kilo quantities of cocaine.

In Ocean County, cocaine really hasn't been seen for the past two years until recently, according to Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato.

"Probably in the last six months we've made some arrests and we've been able to seize some cocaine," said Coronato.

Coronato pointed out that while cocaine is surfacing again, the issue in Ocean County has been the cost difference between cocaine and heroin.

"The price of cocaine is so high compared to the price of heroin, that people turn to heroin," Coronato said.

Coronato noted that cocaine doesn't seem to be tied to the prescription pill problem, like heroin, which he said is as cheap as $3 to $5 a hit, compared to between $40 and $80 for a gram of cocaine.

Cocaine isn't as available locally, according to Coronato, but he said that doesn't mean it can't be obtained. He said it's much easier to buy in inner cities, such as Camden and Newark, or in New York City or Philadelphia.

One thing Coronato mentioned that has been "a little strange," is that in addition to methamphetamine, they're finding cocaine is being mixed in with heroin packets.

"The guy is a drug dealer, he's just throwing stuff together making a cocktail, and they'll put anything they can into those packets," Coronato said. He added the reason could be to make the ride, or high, last longer.

Contact reporter Dianne DeOliveira at

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