KPD: From a beer to a drug bust

KPD_webA man drinking a can of Budweiser on the street led last week to the arrest and subsequent incarceration of a suspected drug dealer with a variety of illegal substances in his car, Kearny police reported.

At 9:15 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 6, Vice detectives were on the 100 block of Devon St. when they saw an individual chugging the beer while talking to another man behind the wheel of a parked Jeep. As they approached on foot to issue a town ordinance violation to the imbiber, they interrupted a hand-to-hand drug transaction, police said.

The Jeep driver was ordered out of the vehicle, but instead he reportedly put it in gear and fled north on Devon. The detectives issued a BOLO, and a short time later Sgt. Dave Rakowski stopped the Jeep near Hickory St. and Midland Ave. Vice arrived, identified the driver, and in plain view saw currency and three plastic bags of suspected drugs, police said.

These were confiscated along with 11 additional bags of cocaine, 18 bags of crack cocaine and 10 Oxycontin pills reportedly found on the driver, Juan Trinidad, 33, of Jersey City.

Trinidad was arrested on a half-dozen possession/distribution charges and remanded to the Hudson County Jail on $25,000 bail, with no 10% option. The currency, $370, was confiscated as the suspected proceeds of drug sales. As for the beer-drinker, police say they know his identity and charges against him are pending.

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

Oct. 3 

At 1 a.m., Officer Tim Castle was called back to the scene of a domestic violence incident that had occurred on Peden Terrace about an hour earlier. He had mediated that dispute and sent the instigator on his way, but the man had returned, police said.

Upon reentering the residence, Castle walked into a darkened dining room, where he was pushed from behind and knocked into a glass china cabinet, which then fell, police reported. Castle was able to take hold of his attacker and pin him to the floor while simultaneously radioing for assistance. Backup Officer Thomas Pontrella arrived and together they managed to cuff Claudiano Tomaz, 39, of Kearny. Tomaz was charged with aggravated assault on an officer and with resisting arrest. He was sent to the county jail on $20,000 bail.

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At 4:40 p.m., Officer Daniel Esteves was alerted to a 2009 Freightliner tractor, with California registration, that had backed over a concrete island in the Walmart lot. There, he found the vehicle with Eduardo Vergara, 56, of Van Nuys, Calif., still behind the wheel — and reportedly with a half-empty bottle of Johnnie Walker Red on the front seat.

Police said Vergara’s speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. After field sobriety tests, he was taken to HQ and charged with DWI, driving a commercial vehicle while intoxicated, having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, careless driving, improper backing and refusal to take an Alcotest.

Oct. 4 

At 8:40 p.m., units were alerted to a vehicle fleeing south near Davis and Midland Aves. after hitting a parked car. Near a driveway on Davis, Officer Ben Wuelfing reportedly spotted tire marks and in that driveway found a 2002 Toyota occupied by Rebecca Santos, 40, of Kearny. Police said the car had “substantial, fresh front-end damage.” Following FSTs and an Alcotest, she was arrested for DWI, reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident.

Oct. 5 

Officers Esteves and Chris Manolis, on patrol at 5 p.m., observed Xavier Guridi, 21, of Belleville, on the 100 block of Devon Terrace and confirmed he was the subject of a $250 motor vehicle warrant out of Maywood. Guridi was arrested and taken to headquarters and Maywood was notified.

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Vice detectives, traveling on Rt. 280 at 10 p.m., saw a 2000 Acura being operated in a “very careless manner,” including making several lane changes without signaling, police said. After the car exited the highway at Harrison Ave., they activated their lights and siren, but the driver reportedly disregarded these and fled east toward Jersey City, with the detectives in pursuit. With patrol officers as backup, they brought it to a halt near the Harrison Ave./ Belleville Pike viaduct.

The driver, Fabricio Astudillo, 22, of Harrison, was charged criminally with eluding and, in a search incident to arrest, was allegedly found to be in possession of two plastic bags containing marijuana. He was additionally charged with possession of pot and drug paraphernalia and issued summonses for careless driving and operating a MV while in possession of a CDS.

Oct. 6 

Officer Derek Hemphill responded to a 1:30 a.m. complaint about loud music disturbing the peace near Kearny and Johnston Aves. and there encountered Edgardo Rivera, 51, of Kearny. Police said a warrant check showed Rivera had two, one each from Kearny and Newark. He was arrested and taken to HQ. And presumably the neighbors went back to sleep.

Oct. 7 

At 5 a.m., Hemphill was patrolling near Bergen Ave. and Ivy St. when he saw a 2008 BMW, with “heavy front-end damage,” parked partially on the sidewalk and with Ronald Luyo, 26, of Kearny, in the driver’s seat, police said. Luyo reportedly told the officer that he had come from out of town and did not remember what he had hit or where he had hit whatever he had hit. (Surrounding jurisdictions were contacted about recent accidents, to no avail.)

Police said Luyo had blood on his clothing but refused medical attention. Following FSTs by Hemphill and Ben Wuelfing, he was brought to HQ and charged with DWI, refusing to take an Alcotest and failing to report an accident.

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Sgt. John Taylor was enforcing MV rules near Franklin School at 9 a.m. when he observed a 1997 Nissan with an inoperable brake light. When he stopped it on Ivy St., police said, he found that Paulo Desa, 41, of Kearny, had a suspended license. Desa was charged with driving while suspended and failure to maintain lamps.

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At 4:15 p.m., concerned motorists alerted HQ to a 2005 Dodge being operated “in an erratic manner” as it travelled east on the Pike in the meadows area. Sgt. Rakowski, who was working an off-duty assignment, saw and stopped the vehicle, and Officer Malinda Esposito took into custody driver Jessica Mould, 39, of Kearny, who was charged with driving while suspended.

– Karen Zautyk 

Karen Zautyk | Observer Correspondent