KPD: From cell phone to cell

A routine traffic stop led to a not-so-routine drug arrest of a Passaic man who allegedly had a considerable amount of narcotics stashed in his car, Kearny police reported.

Vice Unit officers were on Midland Ave. near Davis Ave. at about 5 p.m., April 10, when they spotted a Honda backing out of a driveway while its operator was talking on a cell phone. The detectives pulled the car over at Midland and Lafayette Place. Approaching to issue a summons for the cell phone violation, they detected the odor of raw marijuana and observed, in plain view in the car, plastic containers, one holding suspected pot, the other with knotted bags of suspected cocaine, KPD Chief John Dowie said. (A subsequent count reportedly tallied 17 bags.)

In a search incident to arrest, driver Derrick Rivera, 38, of Passaic, was found to have $1,500 on his person, police said.

The detectives also reported that, despite the removal of Rivera and the aforementioned drugs from the vehicle, an odor of pot was still evident. When questioned, the arrestee allegedly admitted there was more under the seat.

Suspecting that they were dealing with drug distribution, the officers had the Honda towed to the KPD garage and contacted the Belleville PD, which deployed its drug-sniffing dog Rowdy and his handler, Officer Andew Depczek.

When Rowdy “hit” on the vehicle’s trunk, the KPD applied for and was granted a search warrant. In that trunk, police said, were a USPS flatrate box, containing a large vacuum-sealed bag holding 513 grams (about a pound) of marijuana, and 11 more plastic bags filled with 47 grams of the drug.

Rivera was charged with possession of pot and coke and possession with intent to distribute and was remanded to the Hudson County Jail.

(Editor’s note: Just out of perverse curiosity, we did a web search for “How much is a pound of weed worth on the street?” Results varied wildly from $1,250 to $6,400. And one answer was: “I just called my dealer . . . Figure at least 10,000 US/lb.” But that was posted seven years ago.)

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Other recent reports from the Kearny police blotter included the following:

April 11 

At 12:45 a.m., Officer Tom Bannon, on patrol at Devon St. and Quincy Ave., observed a 1999 Mazda partially resting on the sidewalk, its engine running and its driver apparently passed out behind the wheel. After shutting off the engine, rousing the driver — Oscar Lucero, 27, of Kearny — and conducting field sobriety tests, Bannon arrested him for DWI and driving with a suspended license. Lucero later also received a summons for refusing an Alcotest at headquarters.

 April 13 

Officer Luis Moran, on patrol at 11 p.m., encountered several people apparently engaged in a dispute in the street on the 100 block of Devon St. The focus of the dispute was Jovan Echevarria, 20, of Kearny, whom witnesses said had been seen surreptitiously entering a 2002 BMW and apparently taking change from the car. Police said that when he was stopped while running toward Tappan St., he was found to have $5 in coins in his pocket. He was charged with burglary and theft.

April 14 

At 9 p.m., on the 600 block of Elm St., Vice officers observed Joseph Tumminelli, 39, of Kearny, whom they knew to have two outstanding warrants from North Arlington. Confirming this, they arrested him and took him to HQ, where he was turned over to North Arlington police.

April 15 

Officer Damon Pein, patrolling on the Newark Turnpike at 1:30 p.m., came upon an apparently disabled 2003 Chrysler van in the roadway. Checking with HQ, he was informed that the vehicle was unregistered and that the owner had a suspended license and a $750 warrant from East Orange. The van was impounded, Joey Hamilton, 36, of Newark was arrested, and East Orange was advised that he was in custody.

– Karen Zautyk 

The Observer Staff