Surveillance Operation in Newark Leads to Arrest of Irvington, East Orange Men

Suspects from Irvington and East Orange were arraigned today on drug charges following their arrest Monday morning by a law enforcement task force comprised of Essex County sheriff’s detectives and Irvington police officers, police announced this afternoon.

​Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated that in response to numerous neighborhood complaints of open-air narcotics trafficking in the area of Hawthorne Avenue and Fabyan Place in Newark the task force conducted a surveillance operation at that location yesterday.

​According to Sheriff Fontoura, while at the location, detectives observed a suspect, later identified as Dquan Thompson, 27 of Irvington, loitering in front of 574 Hawthorne Avenue (an abandoned residence) when a 2005 Chrysler Pacifica, driven by Daniel Hawkins, 34, of East Orange, arrived at the scene.

​Task force members watched as Hawkins removed a clear plastic bag from under the floorboard mats of his vehicle and handed the bag over to Thompson. Thompson then walked down the alleyway of the abandoned building and secreted it inside a doorway.

Both suspects waited patiently in front of the building until a female passerby engaged Thompson in a brief conversation, Fontoura noted.

Thompson was then observed walking back down the alleyway where he removed items from the plastic bag and exchanged them with the female, later identified as Valarie Burns, 50 of Newark, for cash.

​Believing they had just witnessed a drug sale, the sheriff narcotics detectives and Irvington police officers moved in to further investigate.

Burns was found to be in possession of one vial of ‘crack’ cocaine, said Fontoura.

The plastic bag was recovered and it was found to contain 81 vials of the narcotic and an additional 145 vials of ‘crack’ was discovered in Hawkins’ vehicle, police added.

​Thompson and Hawkins were each charged with the sale of a controlled dangerous substance, sale of CDS within 1000 feet of Bragaw Avenue Elementary School, possession of CDS, possession of CDS with intent to distribute, possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of Bragaw Avenue Elementary School and conspiracy to violate New Jersey’s narcotics laws.

​At today’s arraignments, Thompson and Hawkins were ordered held at the Essex County jail in lieu of $150,000 bail on each suspect.

​Burns was issued a summons for possession of CDS and released in her own recognizance. She will be arraigned at a later date.