An alleged narcotics dealer and his alleged buyer were arraigned today following their arrests yesterday by Essex County sheriff’s detectives.
In response to neighborhood complaints of open air drug trafficking in the area of Fairmount and South Orange Avenues in Newark, Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated that officers from his department’s Bureau of Narcotics conducted a plainclothes surveillance operation at that location on Tuesday.
A suspect, later identified as Jerell Christopher, 28, of Newark, was observed loitering at that location, Sheriff Fontoura said.
Christopher was soon approached by a male passerby, later identified as Roderick Stewart, Jr., 47 of Florham Park. After a brief conversation between the two suspects, Christopher walked to a nearby residence, located at 222 Fairmount Avenue, and removed a clear plastic bag that had been secreted behind a wooden fence, police said.
The sheriff’s BON detectives watched as Christopher removed an item from the bag and exchanged it with Steward for cash.
“Our detectives immediately moved in to detain the suspects and further investigate,” Fontoura added. “Stewart was found to be in possession of one vial of ‘crack’ cocaine. Christopher’s plastic bag was retrieved from behind the fence and it was found to contain 73 vials of ‘crack’ cocaine and 37 heroin-filled envelops, stamped ‘FIRE’ in red ink.”
Christopher was charged with multiple counts of the sale, possession and distribution of cocaine and heroin as well as hindering law enforcement by providing them with false information. He was also found to be the subject of open warrants issued by the Newark and Belleville municipal courts.
Stewart was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance and was found to be the subject of open warrants issued by the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and the East Orange and Mt. Olive municipal courts.
At today’s arraignments, bail on Christopher was set at $75,000 and on Stewart at $25,000.
Both suspects were lodged at the county jail.