The New Jersey State Police have dismantled a mobile heroin processing mill and arrested Marlon Lopez, 26, of Elizabeth, as a result of an investigation that led to the seizure of heroin stamped with brands that have been linked to four suspected fatal overdoses and 11 suspected non-fatal overdoses in New Jersey.
According to police, on March 29, detectives with the New Jersey State Police Motor Vehicle Crimes North Unit began investigating various motor vehicle crimes in the area of U.S. 1 and 9 in Newark.
Police said that while conducting an investigation at a hotel parking lot, detectives discovered a parked Dodge Durango with a fictitious New Jersey temporary license plate. Further investigation revealed that the vehicle had an illegally modified vehicle identification number and was reported stolen out of Shrewsbury.
Through various investigative means, detectives linked the vehicle to Lopez, who was occupying a room at the hotel. A short time later, Lopez exited the room and entered the vehicle. At this time, detectives approached Lopez and arrested him without incident. At the time of his arrest, he was allegedly in possession of 14 grams of heroin, marijuana, and $2,630 cash.
Based on information garnered from the investigation, detectives determined that Lopez was operating a mobile heroin mill out of the hotel room and that he was able to quickly mobilize the entire operation from room to room and to different locations altogether.
According to police, later that same day, troopers along with members of the Opioid Enforcement Task Force executed a search warrant at the hotel room. As a result of the search, detectives seized 145 bricks of heroin, 80 grams of raw heroin, 3 pounds of marijuana, narcotics packaging materials, and several different stamps used to brand packaged narcotics.
Police officials said that drug traffickers market their “brand” of drug by ink-stamping the outside of a wax fold with a unique image, word, or phrase such as “Respect the Game,” and “Stay Still,” which are all examples of stamps that were recovered. The stamps “Respect the Game” and “Stay Still” have been linked to a total of two fatal overdoses, one each, in New Jersey.
Detectives seized pre-packaged bricks of heroin stamped with the brands “Block Party” and “Dunkin Donuts,” which have also been linked to a total of two fatal overdoses, one each, in New Jersey.
According to police, Marlon Lopez was charged with maintaining a heroin production facility, possession of heroin, possession of marijuana, possession of heroin and marijuana with the intent to distribute, possession of CDS paraphernalia, and receiving stolen property. He was lodged at the Essex County Jail pending a detention hearing.
The case is being prosecuted by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.