According to the Essex County Sheriffs' office, three drug suspects were arrested and a semi-automatic handgun was recovered Tuesday afternoon by Essex County sheriff’s officers.
Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated that officers from his department’s Bureau of Narcotics were conducting a narcotics investigation in the area of Leslie Street and Chancellor Avenue in the city's South Ward on Tuesday afternoon when they observed three suspects engaging in illegal narcotics activity.
“Our officers were provided information that identified the area around Leslie Street and Chancellor Ave as a hotspot for potential narcotics activity,” Sheriff Fontoura said. “When our officers arrived on the scene, they immediately noticed three male suspects pacing back and forth on the street corner with no apparent destination.”
The suspects, later identified as Rakeem Conner, 23, Marcus Christmas, 23, and Raekwon Conner, 22, all of Newark, were observed having a conversation with an unidentified female suspect before Rakeem Conner made his way over to a grey Chrysler Sebring parked on the corner of Leslie Street.
“When Rakeem Conner reached the parked car, our officers observed him removing an unidentified item from the vehicle and placing it in a black fanny pack on his waist," Fontoura said. "At this point, Rakeem Conner returned to the unidentified female, removed the item from his fanny pack and handed it over to the female in exchange for paper currency."
At the same time, the officers were witnessing the conversation between Rakeem Conner and the unidentified female, they also witnessed an unidentified male suspect approach Raekwon Conner and engage in a brief conversation.
In a similar manner, Raekwon opened a black fanny pack on his waist, removed an unidentified item and exchanged it with the male suspect for paper currency.
"Based off of our officers' training and past experience, they immediately recognized that an illegal narcotics transaction had taken place," the Sheriff said. "Our officers exited their vehicles with badges showing and requested Rakeem Conner, Raekwon Conner, and Marcus Christmas' cooperation. All three suspects were arrested without incident."
Upon placing the suspects under arrest, officers began a search of the three individuals' fanny packs, as well as the grey Chrysler Sebring. A search of the Sebring resulted in the discovery of a Ruger 9mm semi-automatic handgun with 9mm rounds.
Additionally, officers discovered a bag containing clear vials of suspected CDS Crack Cocaine. The search of the fanny packs yielded several containers of suspected CDS Marijuana and an envelope of suspected CDS Heroin.
Rakeem Conner was charged with possession of a firearm without a permit, possession of a firearm while committing an illegal drug offense, illegal possession of a controlled and dangerous substance and illegal possession of a controlled and dangerous substance within 100 feet of a school.
Raekwon Conner was charged with illegal possession of a controlled and dangerous substance and illegal possession of a controlled and dangerous substance within 100 feet of a school.
Additionally, a records search of Raekwon Conner revealed that the suspect had an open warrant.
Lastly, Marcus Christmas was charged with possession of a controlled and dangerous substance.
Marcus Christmas was released with a processing notice to appear before a judge, while both Rakeem and Raekwon Conner were transported to Essex County Correctional Facility, where they will await a hearing on their charges.
*Photos of Rakeem Conner and Raekwon Conner*