Three Arrested in Newark South Ward Drug Bust

Three suspects were arrested this morning by detectives from the Essex County narcotics task force and multiple drug charges were filed against them.

Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated that the task force, comprised of Essex County sheriff's detectives and detectives from the Newark, Bloomfield and Irvington police departments, conducted a plainclothes surveillance operation on Saturday morning at Shepard Avenue and Osborne Terrace in response to neighborhood complaints of drug trafficking in the area.

"Our officers observed three suspects, later identified at Shelby Thomas Williams, 29, Shakir Johnson, 32, and Basheer Smith, 32, all of Newark, loitering in and around a 2004 Buick sedan which was parked at that location," Sheriff Fontoura said. "During the surveillance operation, the suspects exchanged items from their waistbands for cash with passersby."

The task force then announced their presence and moved in to investigate further.

"The suspects were found to be operating an apparent mobile drug distribution scheme from the car and 253 heroin-filled envelopes, stamped 'BLACK SUNDAY' in black ink, 8 grams of cocaine, 10 Percocet tablets, 25 grams of marijuana and nearly $1,500 in cash was seized," Fontoura noted.

"A K-9 investigation of the suspect vehicle showed positive hits for additional narcotics and weapons. The car was impounded and a search warrant for the vehicle has been applied for."

Thomas Williams was charged with four counts each of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of CDS with intent to distribute and possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 500 feet of the Weequahic Public Library.

Johnson and Smith were each charged with one count of possession of CDS, possession of CDS with intent to distribute and possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 500 feet of the Weequahic Public Library.

All three suspects were lodged at the county jail where they await a bail hearing on today's charges and further charges are pending based upon the search of the suspect vehicle.