Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato announced an Ocean County jury yesterday found Damian Arena, 38, of Toms River, guilty of possession and distribution of both heroin and cocaine.
The case stemmed from a May 13, 2014 operation where detectives from the Prosecutor’s Special Operations Group, Northern Enforcement Unit conducted an investigation that resulted in the arrest of two Ocean County residents on various drug charges. During the course of the investigation, Detectives from the Prosecutor’s Northern Enforcement Unit learned that the occupants of room 18 of the Sun and Sand Motel located on Route 37 in Toms River were allegedly distributing quantities of both heroin and cocaine from their room.
Based on an investigation conducted by members of the Prosecutor’s Northern Enforcement Unit, Detectives also identified a 2011 Buick Regal as being utilized to store and distribute narcotics. At approximately 12:15 pm on May 13, 2014, Prosecutor’s Detectives located the 2011 Buick Regal as it left the area of the Sun and Sand Motel and traveled to the Shell Gas Station located on Route 37 and Fisher Boulevard in Toms River.
Prosecutor’s Detectives along with members of the Toms River Police Department executed a motor vehicle stop on the Buick Regal. At the time of the stop, the vehicle was occupied by Damian Arena of Toms River and Jodi McConnon of Seaside Heights.
On that May 13 date, detectives also executed court-authorized search warrants at the home of Damian Arena at 119 Poe Avenue, Toms River NJ, as well as, on the 2011 Buick Regal and room 18 at the Sun and Motel. The execution of the search warrants resulted in the seizure of quantities of heroin (approximately 170 individual dosage units) and cocaine under one half ounce. Police also located drug paraphernalia, specifically several glass crack (cocaine) smoking pipes.
Both subjects were arrested and transported to the Toms River Police Department. The 2011 Buick Regal was also seized pending forfeiture proceedings.
As a result of the operation Damian Arena, 35 at the time, of 119 Poe Avenue, Toms River was charged with Possession of Heroin, Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Cocaine, Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. Arena has remained incarcerated since the time of his arrest in the Ocean County Jail.
Assisting in the Arena investigation were members of the Ocean County Sheriffs Department K-9 Unit, the Toms River Police Department Operations Bureau and the Toms River Police K-9 Unit.