Harrison, Belleville Men Arrested in Drug Raid

Belleville – Two suspects were arrested on Thursday afternoon and more than 25 pounds of marijuana and $60,000 in cash were recovered by a law enforcement task force comprised of Essex County sheriff’s detectives and police officers from Belleville and Bloomfield.

​Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated that the task force conducted a surveillance operation and executed a search warrant at 50 Newark Place yesterday in response to numerous neighborhood complaints of drug trafficking in the area.

​“Our officers observed a suspect, later identified as James Benedetto, 48 of Harrison, pulled up to the scene in a Honda SUV. He exited the vehicle and he was carrying an empty book bag,” Sheriff Fontoura said. “The target of our investigation, John Krug, 40, opened the door of his residence and both men entered.”

​A few hours later, Benedetto exited the residence. This time his book bag was full and he drove away from the scene.

​“Our officers conducted a motor vehicle stop of the Honda a few blocks away,” Fontoura said. “Benedetto’s book bag was found to contain 224 grams of marijuana and he was placed under arrest.”

​With Benedetto in custody the task force executed the search warrant for Krug’s apartment.

​“During the search our officers confiscated $91,000 worth of marijuana in both leaf and liquid form, 87 Xanax tablets, a variety of drug processing and packaging materials and $60,618 in cash,” the sheriff added.

​Krug was charged with two counts each of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of CDS with intent to distribute and possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of Belleville High School. He was also charged with possession of narcotics paraphernalia. He was lodged at the county jail where he awaits a bail hearing.

​Benedetto was charged with possession of CDS and possession of CDS with intent to distribute. He was released on his own recognizance and will arraigned at a later date.