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Monmouth County Grand Jury Indicts Belmar Man for Fatal Drug Overdose


By: Richard L. Smith 

Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago reported that a  Monmouth County Grand Jury has returned a 37-count indictment against a man responsible for a fatal overdose in 2021,  officials reported Friday.

Officials said on January 2, 2021, at 1:21 p.m., Belmar Police Department officers were dispatched to the area of Third and River Avenues for a caller reporting an overdose in progress in the front seat of his car.

The car was located on Fifth Avenue with the passenger-side door ajar and a male subject crawling out of the vehicle face-first. Upon contact with the Belmar Police officers, the individual crawling out of the car yelled, “Narcan him!” 

Prosecutor Santiago said one of the responding Belmar officers immediately retrieved his first-aid equipment and administered two doses of Narcan to an adult male, later identified as Jonathan Amato, seated in the front passenger seat in a reclined position, unconscious and not breathing.

 Amato was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased upon arrival at the hospital. 

An investigation involving members of the Belmar Police Department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office revealed that Amato overdosed and died as a result of controlled dangerous substances that he ingested at the residence of Robert Clayton, 39.

According to Prosecutor Santiago, a subsequent search of Clayton’s home by the Belmar Police Department recovered the following narcotics: 919 Xanax pills, 101 Carisoprodol pills, 26 wax folds of heroin, two bags of powder heroin, three bags of MDMA (“Ecstasy”), 97 doses of LSD, one bag of Crystal Meth, two bags of Ketamine, 111 Methadone pills, 51 Adderall pills, 62 Tramadol pills, two vials of liquid Xanax, 11 Oxycodone pills and numerous other small amounts of pills, in addition to used hypodermic needles, vacuum-sealed packaging bags, hundreds of unused wax folds, four scales with CDS residue, two whipped-cream-dispensers, and 200 whippet canisters. In addition, 34 thumb memory drives and a computer and seven cellular phones were recovered.

According to a statement released, Clayton was indicted on one count of second-degree Manslaughter, along with two counts of second-degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with the Intent to Distribute, twelve counts of second-degree Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with the Intent to Distribute while on or within 500 feet of a Public Park, twelve counts of third-degree Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substance, and ten counts of third-degree Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Distribute. 

Despite these charges, Prosecutor Santiago said every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.