Essex County sheriff’s office announced the arrest of seven suspects, including a wheelchair-bound man in his 70’s and a female septuagenarian, Wednesday afternoon following four simultaneous raids on two federally funded housing complexes in Newark.
According to authorities, yesterday officers executing a search warrant in a second floor apartment on Pennington Street, walked in on four male suspects, who were sitting around a glass-topped coffee table, wearing plastic gloves, as they allegedly packaged heroin for street distribution.
Officials said 22 grams of uncut morphine, 524 heroin-filled glassine envelopes, an additional 17 grams of unpackaged heroin, 84 grams of ‘crack’ cocaine, $801 in alleged drug sale proceeds and a wide assortment of drug packaging and processing materials were seized.
Police arrested Kenneth McCarthy, 45, Sherif Kirksey, 40 Steven Richardson, 59, all of Newark, and Anibal Rodriquez, 53, of Carteret.
Three other search warrants were executed at apartments on the 1000 block of Broad Street.
In a fourth-floor apartment, wheelchair-bound Weldon Grady, 73, was arrested when narcotics officers reportedly discovered 10 vials of ‘crack’ cocaine, 27 Suboxone films and 9 oxycodone tablets on top of the suspect’s bedroom dresser.
Authorities said a third floor apartment was also raided. There detectives seized two plastic bags containing heroin, three plastic bags containing cocaine, 9 oxycodone tablets and drug packaging materials in the living room of Katherine Stokes, 76.
A search warrant for the seventh floor apartment of Charlie Flowers, 64, was also executed and it yielded a metal canister, containing 67 grams of ‘crack’ cocaine and drug processing materials. Officials said Flowers was also found to have six vials of ‘crack’ cocaine secreted in his waistband.
“Our national opioid crisis is real,” Sheriff Fontoura noted. “Senior citizens involved in the narcotics trafficking of heroin, morphine and oxycodone is a reflection that this scourge knows no limits.”
According to authorities, the street value of the narcotics seized in the four raids is estimated to be in excel of $30,000.
Police charged McCarthy, Kirksey, Richardson and Rodriguez with 15 criminal counts, including possession of CDS, possession of CDS with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute within 1000 feet of Sanford Charter School, conspiracy to violate New Jersey’s narcotics laws and maintaining a narcotics production facility. In addition, Grady was charged with six criminal counts, including possession and possession of CDS with intent to distribute.
Authorities charged Stokes with 13 criminal counts, including possession and possession of CDS with intent to distribute. Flowers was charged with 5 criminal counts, including possession and possession of CDS with intent to distribute.
Officials said all of the suspects except Grady were lodged at the county jail where they await bail hearings. Grady, because of his medical conditions, was released on his recognizance and is scheduled for arraignment on June 27th.