Cops break up narcotics operation

BLOOMFIELD –

Armed with a battering ram, Essex County sheriff’s officers and Bloomfield police last week forced their way through a steel-fortified apartment door and arrested three suspects on drug-trafficking charges, Sheriff Armando Fontoura reported.

Fontoura said detectives from Bloomfield and his department’s Bureau of Narcotics executed a search warrant last Tuesday afternoon at a third-floor apartment at 147 Franklin St. and took into custody Julio (Big Man) Lebron, 27, Joel Alejo, 23, and Denise Taveras, 28, all of whom are residents of the Bronx.

According to authorities, the warrant was obtained after a two-week joint investigation that had been prompted by “numerous neighborhood complaints” of narcotics trafficking at the location.

“Entry into the apartment was difficult,” the sheriff said, noting that “the door was fortified by both 2×6-inch wood beams and steel I-bars.”

Reportedly seized during the raid were 9 grams of heroin, 26 grams of crack cocaine, 256 grams of marijuana, 21 Xanax tablets and 17 vials of Propofol. The estimated street value of the drugs was $8,000.

Fontoura said the alleged distributors “apparently had access to a wide variety of narcotics, as Propofol is particularly unique for us to come across.”

Propofol, he noted, “is the narcotic that caused the death” of Michael Jackson.

Lebron, Alejo and Taveras were each charged with five counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of CDS with intent to distribute and possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of Bloomfield Vocational School.

The suspects were also charged with maintaining fortified premises, possession of narcotics paraphernalia and conspiracy to violate New Jersey’s narcotics laws.

Bloomfield Municipal Court Judge John Paparazzo set bail at $450,000, cash bond only, on each of the suspects.

They were remanded to the Essex County Jail with arraignments expected later in the week.

– Karen Zautyk 

The Observer Staff