Kearny police went undercover last week to unmask a business that promoted massage therapy but offered something beyond that – illicit sex – according to police.
After developing information that all was not as it seemed at a rented storefront location in the 700 block of Elm Street, police posing as customers phoned ahead for an appointment.
At 9 p.m. on Sept. 26, the plainclothes cops were admitted to the location and paid an entrance fee, then were told that there were certain “extras” from which they could choose. Asked to explain, police said the undercovers were offered a variety of sexual favors at different prices.
Police then arrested the two “employees,” Hiroko Kojima, 40, of Astoria, and Anna Shibano, 39, of Newark, on charges of promoting prostitution. Police said Kojima had $213 in cash and Shibano had $352 in cash – both presumed to be proceeds from prior sexual transactions.
Both were then released on summonses pending an Oct. 11 appearance in municipal court.
Police Chief John Dowie said that warrants would be drawn for the arrest of the individual suspected of hiring the alleged prostitutes and securing a “business” location.
Here are other incidents logged by police during the past week:
Police arrested a suspect in a year-old gas station break-in case when they collared Angel Martinez, 50, of Newark, at 9:30 p.m. in the Lincoln Park section of Newark. He was charged on a warrant with the burglary of the Exxon station, Passaic Avenue and Belgrove Drive, at 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 26, 2011, and held at Hudson County Jail, Kearny, on $10,000 bail, with no 10 percent cash option. Police said the burglar broke the station’s office window, tripping an alarm, grabbed cash, cigarettes and lottery tickets but, in his hurry to flee, left some physical evidence at the scene and was also captured on the station surveillance tape. Police enlisted the aid of the State Police in analyzing the evidence and the tape and, eventually, investigation led police to Martinez.
After surveilling a suspected West Hudson marijuana distributor believed to be operating from a Chestnut Street location, police stopped the suspect, Kevin Torres, 26, of Kearny, at 10:40 p.m. at Johnston and Passaic Avenues as he was driving back into town. Inside his car, police said they detected a strong odor of suspected marijuana and several white capsules in the passenger area. Inside the vehicle’s armrest panel police said they found a large plastic bag of suspected marijuana. A search of Torres yielded $1,195 in cash and a mobile phone, police said. Armed with a warrant, police then searched Torres’ Chestnut Street residence where they said they found four plastic bags of marijuana, one plastic bag of cocaine, one bag of capsulized cocaine labeled “Molly,” two bottles of Niacin capsules, a digital scale and $1,500 in cash. Torres was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana, cocaine and MDMA (“ecstasy”) with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school and 500 feet of a park and use of a remotely activated paging device while engaged in drug activity.
Two men driving back into Kearny after being observed at an “open air drug market” in Essex County were stopped at 6:30 p.m. in the 900 block of Passaic Avenue by officers who informed them they’d been under surveillance.
Police said the driver, George Sousa, 27, of Kearny, had six glassein folds of suspected heroin labeled “ATM” and his passenger, Jonathan Chojnacki, 21, of Lyndhurst, had a bag of suspected heroin also with the ATM brand. Both were charged with possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia and released on summonses. Five days prior, at 6:25 p.m., Chojnacki was busted for drugs while bicycling at Washington Avenue and Hillcrest Road. As Officer Jay Ward drove by, police said Chojnacki tried to hide an object with an orange cap against his stomach, then shifted it to his left hand while gripping the handle bar with his right hand. When Ward stopped him, police said he tossed the object on the street. It was found to be a hypodermic needle. Police said he was also found to have four glassein envelopes containing heroin labeled “USA Power.” He was charged with possession of heroin and a hypodermic syringe.
At 10:15 p.m. at Devon Street and Midland Avenue, police stopped a car whose driver, Andrew Carrano, 23, of North Arlington, was known to have an outstanding Paramus warrant. Inside the car police said they found a clear plastic bag with suspected marijuana in the center console. Carrano and his passenger, Christian Garcia, 23, of Kearny, were charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Two adults and one juvenile have been charged with robbery and conspiracy in connection with an assault on a 19-year-old Kearny youth at 3:30 p.m. as the youth was sitting in a car parked on Kearny and Afton Avenues. Police said a white Mitsubishi with two occupants and a blue Chrysler with one person converged on the parked vehicle and one person from each of the cars got out, confronted the teen, slapped him around and took his hat, two soda cans and his cellular phone, jumped back in their respective cars and drove off. Police said the teen flagged down a patrol car and described his assailants, their vehicles and direction of flight. Police said Officer Jack Corbett spotted the Mitsubishi parked at Highland Avenue and Paterson Street with a brown bag containing the two sodas inside and charged the lone occupant, Adolfo Zuloaga, 18, of Kearny, with receiving stolen property. Meanwhile, police said, Officer Brian Wisely located the Chrysler parked on Quincy Ave. and arrested the driver, Aneudi Ruiz-Martinez, 18, of Kearny, who was nearby. Police also apprehended the Mitsubishi owner, a 17-year-old Kearny resident. Police recovered the victim’s hat from a street sewer but didn’t find the phone.
A Toms River woman was charged with driving while intoxicated after police said she was observed driving with her headlights off and weaving between lanes at 1:25 a.m. Police said Colleen O’Malley, 45, drove out of the Applebee’s parking lot onto Passaic Avenue, then up Bergen Avenue while crossing the center line, driving eastbound in the westbound lane before she was stopped. Police said she admitted to having been drinking “all day” and had an open can of beer in her car. O’Malley was charged with DWI, reckless driving and operating a motor vehicle while in possession of an open container of alcohol.
Robert Bellina, 51, of Kearny, was charged with DWI and leaving the scene of an accident after police said his pickup struck a parked car as he turned off Schuyler Avenue onto Quincy Avenue at 2:45 p.m. and he ran into his Quincy Avenue residence. When confronted by police, Bellina smelled of alcohol, his eyes were bloodshot and he was unsteady on his feet. He was then placed under arrest. Two Essex County men were arrested after officers stopped their Jeep at 1 p.m. at Kearny and Quincy Avenues on drug charges. Police said they found a black plastic bag stuffed between the seats containing 11 packets of suspected heroin labeled “Block Party.” The driver, Saun Reaves, 41, of East Orange, and his passenger, Malik Reed, 22, of Newark, were charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia. Reaves was also ticketed for driving while suspended. Reed was additionally charged with possession of a prescription legend drug after police said they found five Endocet pills on him. He was also held on a no bail warrant from Irvington and two traffic warrants from Newark.
– Ron Leir