A narcotics investigation led to a vehicle search that resulted in the seizure of two kilograms of heroin late last week, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Monday.
According to authorities, Noel Ramiro Hernandez of Indianapolis, Indiana is charged with first-degree possession of heroin with the intent to distribute and third-degree heroin possession.
Officials say members of the Prosecutor’s Office’s Narcotics Strike Force and the FBI-Newark Hybrid Task Force office recently launched a joint investigation, assisted by the Union County Police Department, after receiving information that a shipment of heroin was going to be traveling through Union County by way of Pennsylvania, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Cleaver, who is prosecuting the case.
Investigators located the suspect vehicle, a 2004 Chevrolet Suburban, traveling east on I-78 last Thursday and tracked it to the parking lot of a clothing store off of U.S. Route 22 West in Union Township, Cleaver said. There police arrested Hernandez without incident, and a search of the SUV revealed two kilograms of heroin concealed in a speaker in the rear of the vehicle.
According to officials, the quantity of seized heroin is equivalent to more than 100,000 individual doses. Heroin appeared in the toxicology reports of 75 of the 126 people who died due to a drug overdose in Union County last year, or nearly three in every five. Hernandez was subsequently transported to Union County Jail pending a first appearance.
Convictions on first-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 10 to 20 years in state prison.
These are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.