Drug Investigation Leads to Arrest of Newark Residents, East Orange Juvenile

Two male suspects were arrested last night by Essex County sheriff’s detectives on multiple drug charges and are expected to be arraigned later today while in a separate incident on Thursday evening a male juvenile was arrested on weapons and drug charges.

Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated that in response to numerous neighborhood complaints of open-air drug trafficking and as part of an on-going series of investigations in the city’s North Ward his department’s Bureau of Narcotics staged a plainclothes surveillance operation at the intersection of Broadway and Grafton Avenue early yesterday evening.

At that location, the sheriff’s BON detectives observed as both a male and a female passersby approached Tajaree Springer, 24, and Rajohn Blakewood, 25, both of Newark, who were loitering in the area.

“Following brief conversations with the passersby, Springer and Blakewood both reached into their waistbands, removed items from clear plastic bags and exchanged the items for cash,” Sheriff Fontoura pointed out. “Believing they had just witnessed two drug transactions, our BON detectives moved in to further investigate. Springer was found to have 49 heroin-filled glassine envelops, stamped ‘IRON MAN 2”, on his person while Blakewood was found to be in possession of 68 vials of ‘crack’ cocaine.”

A canvass of the area for the passersby proved negative.

Springer and Blakewood were both charged with the possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of CDS with intent to distribute, possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of Elliott Street School and possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 500 feet of Broadway Park.

The overnight bail on each suspect was set at $50,000 cash bond only.

At 9:15 p.m. on Thursday, officers from the sheriff’s Patrol Division executed a motor vehicle stop for a 2003 Audi A4 with illegally tinted windows at Park Avenue and North 6th Street, also in the city’s North Ward.

“When our officers approached the vehicle they immediately detected the pungent odor of burnt marijuana,” Sheriff Fontoura noted. “Inside the Audi were three 17-year-old males, the driver and rear seat passenger from Newark and the front seat passenger from East Orange.”

During questioning, the juveniles admitted to smoking marijuana in the car earlier in the evening.

“While documenting the youths, our officers noticed a large bulge in the waistband of the front seat passenger,” Fontoura said. “He was removed from the car and found to be in possession of a .38 caliber Santa Fe Sky revolver, loaded with illegal hollow point bullets, 13 bags of ‘crack’ cocaine and nine Alprazolam tablets. The gun was found to have been stolen out of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, in December 2011.”

The East Orange juvenile was charged with the unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon while committing a CDS crime, possession of hollow point bullets and receiving stolen property. He was also charged with two counts each of possession of CDS, possession of CDS with intent to distribute, possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of Dr. William Horton School and possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 500 feet of Branch Brook Park.

The East Orange juvenile was lodged at the Essex County Youth Detention Facility where he awaits a hearing in Family Court on the charges.

The driver was issued motor vehicle summonses for tinted windows and for being an unlicensed driver.

The driver and the rear seat passenger were also issued summonses to appear in Newark municipal court to answer for prior motor vehicle charges and were released to their parents.