By: Richard L. Smith
The culmination of a two-month-long investigation led by the Linden Police Department Narcotics Bureau, in collaboration with the Union County Prosecutors Office Narcotics Task Force, resulted in the arrest of a Union man and the seizure of illegal firearms and narcotics. The operation, which underscores the ongoing efforts to combat drug-related violence and illegal weapons in the community, took place on Thursday, January 18, 2024.
Detectives executed a search warrant at a residence on the 800 block of Hobson Street in Union.
The target of the operation, 53-year-old Mr. Luiz Melendez, was arrested outside his home without incident.
The search of the residence led to the discovery of an illegal “ghost” gun and a high-capacity magazine, along with significant quantities of suspected cocaine and MDMA.
Additionally, over $85,000 in cash was seized from the premises.
Melendez faces a series of serious charges, including third-degree possession of a “ghost” gun, fourth-degree possession of a high-capacity magazine, and second-degree possession of a weapon while committing a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) offense.
He is also charged with second and third-degree offenses related to the possession and distribution of suspected cocaine and MDMA.Following his arrest, Melendez was remanded to the Essex County Jail, pending a scheduled court appearance in Superior Court.
Police Chief David Hart highlighted the significance of the operation.
“Illegal drug sales and the violence that accompanies them have had a devastating effect in our community, and we are incredibly proud of the investigative work that led to this arrest and the seizure of this dangerous weapon,” he stated.
Hart extended his gratitude to all officers involved and the Union County Prosecutor’s Office for their commitment to removing illegal drugs and guns from the streets.
The Linden Police Department also took the opportunity to remind the public that help is available for those struggling with substance abuse, emphasizing the broader context of drug-related issues in the community.
This successful operation represents a significant step in ongoing efforts to ensure public safety and combat illegal activities.