Quality of Life Enforcement at Newark's Stephen Crane Complex Ends in Two Arrest for CDS, Weapons Possession

Newark – Two suspects, arrested on Friday and Saturday by Essex County sheriff’s detectives, are scheduled to be arraigned today on weapons and drug charges.

Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated that officers from his department’s Patrol Division were conducting proactive quality of life operations on Friday at Stephen Crane Village in the city’s North Ward when they observed a suspect standing in front of 45 South Cedar Lane.

​“Upon noticing our presence, James Lanier, 19, of Newark, briskly walked away from our officers,” Sheriff Fontoura said. “Lanier briefly stopped by an adjacent building where he secreted what appeared to be a black handgun into a storm drain.”

Police detained ​Lanier while they searched.

​“Police placed Lanier under arrest when they found a fully loaded, 9mm, semi-automatic handgun Ruger with a high capacity magazine,” the sheriff added.

​Lanier was also found to have been recently released from the county jail on a prior crime for receiving stolen property with conditions set by a court order.

​On Saturday, detectives from the sheriff’s Bureau of Narcotics executed a search warrant for the second-floor apartment at 116 Garside Street, also in the city’s North Ward.

​“Here, the target of our investigation, Dennis Veerden, 25, was found to have 17 heroin-filled envelopes, stamped ‘LEBRON JAMES’ in green ink, and $73 in cash in his shorts pocket,” Fontoura noted. “An additional 166 similarly marked decks of heroin were also discovered in a pants pocket in the suspect’s bedroom along with a loaded, .380 caliber, Cobra semi-automatic handgun with a 30-round magazine clip.”

​Lanier was charged with the unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a high capacity ammunition magazine and contempt of a judicial order.

​Police accused Veerenden of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of CDS with intent to distribute, possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of Franklin Street School, possession of CDS within 500 feet of a public housing complex and possession of a handgun while committing a CDS crime.

IMAGE: James Lanier (left)