‘Fortified drug bazaar’ raided: cops

Fontura

Essex County Sheriff Sheriff Armando Fontoura

BELLEVILLE —

Essex County sheriff’s detectives, executing a search warrant at a Joralemon St. residence last week, had a bit of difficulty accessing the premises. The entrance to the home, on the 800 block of Joralemon, was blocked by steel caged doors. But once the officers forced their way through, what they found was more than worth the effort, authorities said.

According to Sheriff Armando Fontoura, it appeared that the target of the investigation, 24-year-old Gabriel Rangel, “was operating a drug bazaar that catered to many different tastes.”

In the living room, the officers reportedly found “a wide assortment of drug-processing materials and narcotics residue.”

The basement produced additional interesting items, including a plastic container holding 40 glassine envelopes of heroin stamped “ROLEX,” five grams of cocaine and 26 Ecstasy tablets, police said.

In the cellar, there was also a safe. “It was found to contain an additional 40 decks of heroin, 66 Ecstasy tablets, 57 Xanax pills and 30 doses of Oxycodone,” the sheriff said.

There were surveillance cameras surrounding the home, but perhaps the suspect was not monitoring them, because he, too, was found inside during the Tuesday afternoon raid.

Rangel was charged with five counts each of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of CDS with intent to distribute and possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 500 feet of a park, and possession of narcotics paraphernalia.

He was also charged with maintaining a fortified premises.

Rangel was arraigned Thursday in Newark before Judge Marilyn Williams, who ordered him held at the Essex County jail in lieu of $200,000 cash bond only.

Karen Zautyk | Observer Correspondent