By: Richard L. Smith
In a significant crackdown on illegal drug activities, the Haledon Police Department has dismantled an ecstasy production facility operating within the community, marking a major victory for local law enforcement and public safety.The operation, executed on February 10, 2024, was spearheaded by the department's Investigative and Special Services Bureau following a tip-off from a concerned citizen about suspicious activities on the 300th block of Haledon Avenue.
During the operation, police arrested 23-year-old Mr. Santiago Zapata-Palomeque at his residence, where they discovered a substantial amount of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known as ecstasy, stored in two five-gallon buckets.
The search further revealed additional quantities of MDMA and cocaine, alongside manufacturing equipment and fraudulent government identification documents, evidencing a sophisticated drug manufacturing setup.
The seriousness of the situation necessitated the involvement of the Passaic County Hazmat Team, the Haledon Board of Health, and the Haledon Fire Department to ensure the safety of the community and the officers on the scene.
Zapata-Palomeque now faces severe legal consequences, including charges of maintaining a controlled dangerous substance production facility, possession, manufacturing, intent to distribute Schedule I controlled substances, and possession of fraudulent government IDs.
Officials said Detective Jeffrey Welsh is leading the investigation into this extensive drug manufacturing operation.
Mayor Michael Johnson commended the diligent efforts of the Haledon Police Department, highlighting the operation as a testament to the administration's commitment to public safety and the effectiveness of modern policing practices.The Mayor's statement underscored the importance of community support and the resources provided to law enforcement in maintaining the safety and security of Haledon's residents.
This successful operation not only removes a significant source of illegal drugs from the community but also reinforces the message that Haledon is no place for criminal activities.