Two male suspects and a female suspect were arraigned today on multiple drug and weapons charges following their arrests on Thursday in downtown Newark and in the West Ward by Essex County sheriff’s detectives.
Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated that the first series of arrests were executed by detectives from his department’s Bureau of Narcotics who staged the plain clothes surveillance operation late yesterday afternoon at the intersection of Washington and Hill streets, a location the sheriff noted “was virtually in the shadow of Newark City Hall and the front steps of the old Star – Ledger headquarters”.
The sheriff’s BON officers here observed three suspects, later identified as Richard Mitchell, 44, Tatiyana Robinson, 21, and Robert Davis, 43, all of Newark, loitering in the area.
Within moments of establishing surveillance, a male passersby approached Robinson who exchanged items from her waistband for cash. Another male passerby approached Davis who retrieved items from a lock in a nearby fence and exchanged them for cash.
Believing they had witnessed open-air drug transactions, the sheriff’s narcotics detectives moved in and detained all three suspects.
“Robinson was found to be in possession of 10 glassine envelops of ‘crack’ cocaine,” Sheriff Fontoura said. “The fence lock that Davis had utilized contained two small bags of marijuana and a glass vial, containing 36 grams of Phencyclidine (PCP) or ‘Angel Dust’ as it is referred to on the street, was discovered in the underpants of Mitchell.”
All three suspects were charged with the possession of CDS, possession of CDS with the intent to distribute, possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of St. James Preparatory School and possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 500 feet of Hill Street Park.
At today’s arraignment, Mitchell ($35,000 bail) and Robinson ($25,000 bail) were ordered held at the Essex County Jail.
Davis was issued summonses on his marijuana charges and was released on his own recognizance. He will be arraigned next week.
Sheriff Fontoura added that later on Thursday evening detectives from his department’s Patrol Division arrived at 438 South 17th Street after developing information that an out-of-state armed drug suspect was operating in the area.
“At this location our detectives in full uniform and driving marked cruisers immediately spotted David Griffis, 33, of Easton, Pennsylvania, and the target of our investigation as he sat on the porch of the residence with two other suspects,” Fontoura said. “Griffis attempted to run from the scene but was immediately captured and taken into custody.”
Fontoura added that Griffis was found to be in possession of a revolver loaded with illegal hollow point bullets and 46 vials of ‘crack’ cocaine.
Also at the scene, Dwore Orr, 36, was found to be wanted on drug charges out of Swiftwater, Pennsylvania, and, Wil Smith, 29, was found to be wanted on three warrants issued by the Newark municipal court. Both suspects are Newark residents and were taken into custody.
Griffis was charged with the unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon while committing a CDS crime, possession of hollow point bullets, possession of CDS, possession of CDS with intent to distribute and possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of West Side Campus.
At today’s arraignment, Griffis was ordered held at the county jail in lieu of $75,000 cash bond only.
Orr was lodged at the jail pending his extradition to Pennsylvania and Smith was remanded to the county jail where he awaits a hearing on his outstanding charges.