Kearny PD busy nailing narcotics suspects

Three drug busts top the recent entries in the Kearny Police Department blotter.

On Feb. 20, shortly after 11 p.m., in the area of Johnston Ave., vice detectives stopped a person said to be known to them from prior drug investigations.

While conducting a street inquiry, they reportedly detected a strong odor of marijuana. Advised of this, the “increasingly nervous” suspect shouted, “I’m not going anywhere!” and began to run down Johnston Avenue. Shortly after taking flight, the subject fell and was apprehended but began to kick and flail while being placed in custody, police said. A search of his person reportedly produced one large plastic bag containing 16 grams of marijuana and two prescription pills.

The suspect, a 27-year-old Kearny resident, Kevin Buffit, was charged with possession of Oxycodone, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, possession of a CDS with intent to distribute, intent to distribute within a school zone, and resisting arrest.

Buffit was being held on $40,000 bail.


On the following day, Feb. 21, at 3:45 p.m., police said, vice detectives observed two known drug offenders inside a vehicle on the 400 block of Devon St. and subsequently saw one of the occupants smoking what appeared to be a glass pipe and then place it in a pack of cigarettes. When he exited the car, the detectives approached, recovered the pipe from the pack and placed him under arrest.

When asked to place his hands behind his back, the suspect, Sean McCurley, 35, of Kearny, reportedly took off, running north on Devon. Overtaken after a short foot chase, McCurley kicked and punched one of the detectives and, when taken to the ground, refused to take his hands from under his chest, police said.

Given his resistance, he was sprayed with OC spray. He then removed a plastic bag from his waistband and put it into his mouth, police said.

A search reportedly uncovered 24 small Ziploc bags containing suspected cocaine.

McCurley was taken to police headquarters, offered medical attention for the injuries he suffered during the course of his arrest, and was charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school, aggravated assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and being under the influence of a controlled substance. Bail was set at $40,000. ———————————

On Feb. 26, at 9:30 p.m., as a result of an ongoing drug investigation, vice detectives conducted surveillance at an Elm St. residence and observed what they felt were drug transactions taking place. Detectives interrupted one such transaction and arrested the individual who was the target of the investigation in front of his home. A follow-up search of the residence reportedly produced 32 small bags containing suspected marijuana, a digital scale, numerous plastic bags and $500 in currency.

As a result, 19-year-old Kearny resident Eric Lorenzo was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, distribution of marijuana, distribution within 1,000 feet of a school and distribution within 500 feet of a park. Bail was set at $20,000.

In other KPD news:

Feb. 22

At 8 p.m., Officer John Fabula, responding to a fight in the 200 block of Kearny Ave., observed 19-year-old Brandon Tice of Kearny, who he was aware was the subject of an outstanding warrant. Fabula verified that there was a $500 warrant from Seaside Heights, and he placed Tice under arrest without incident and transported him to headquarters.

Feb. 24

While on patrol at 3 a.m. on Grant Ave., Officer Ben Wuelfing observed a vehicle parked in a prohibited area with the engine running and an individual sleeping behind the wheel. Waking the man and questioning him, Wuelfing reportedly detected a strong odor of alcohol, conducted a field sobriety test and placed him under arrest for driving while intoxicated. At HQ , an alcotest was administered.

Kearny resident Juan Jimenez, 18, was charged with driving while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated underage and in a school zone. He was released to a responsible individual after processing.

Feb. 26

At 10 a.m., Officer Melinda Esposito responded to the Kearny Rite-Aid on the report of a theft. Store employees advised her that the subject had just left the store, riding south on Kearny Ave. on a green bicycle. A description was broadcast, and shortly thereafter Harrison PD Officer Ray McGuirespotted and stopped the individual on Rodgers Blvd.

Store employees made a positive identification of the suspect, 48 year-old Newark resident Anthony McBryde, who was placed under arrest for shoplifting and was found to have an outstanding Harrison warrant, also for shoplifting, police said.

A search incident to arrest reportedly found subject to be in possession of $382 worth of merchandise, consisting of batteries, lighters, condoms, Rogaine and candy.

McBryde was charged with shoplifting and contempt of court. Bail was set at $5,000, plus $250 pre-set from the outstanding warrant.

At 4 p.m., vice detectives observed a known narcotics violator in the area of Belgrove Drive and Bergen Ave. Police said she was believed to have engaged in an earlier drug transaction, was stopped and confronted with that information and was found to be in possession of three glassine folds believed to contain heroin. The suspect, Barbara Walsh, 23, of Kearny was charged with possession of heroin and released on a summons after processing at headquarters.

Shortly after 4 p.m., Sgt. Charles Smith observed a vehicle parked illegally in the area of Kearny Ave. and the Belleville Turnpike. While the officer was pulling up to address the situation, the vehicle pulled away. Smith followed, stopped it at the Pike and Passaic Ave., and requested a HQ warrant check on the driver and the two passengers. Both passengers turned out to be wanted.

Police said Kevin Smart, a 26-year-old Belleville resident, had three outstanding warrants from Bayonne and East Windsor, and Angela Bambo, 25, also from Belleville, had a warrant from Paterson. Both were placed under arrest and taken to headquarters, and the various jurisdictions were notified.

The driver was released after being issued two motor vehicle summonses.

Feb. 27

At 5 p.m., Officer Pat Becker responded to Argyle Place on a report of suspicious individuals, whom he observed and confronted. They advised Becker that they were canvassing, but were unable to produce a town-issued permit.

The officer requested a warrant check and learned that one of the individuals, 29-year-old Trenton resident Daniel Booker, was the subject of five outstanding arrest warrants. Booker was placed under arrest, transported to headquarters and additionally issued a town ordinance violation.

At 10:30 p.m., vice detectives observed two individuals on the front steps of a Devon St. residence hand-rolling a small cigar, which is a common method of ingesting marijuana. The detectives approached and also observed a marijuana grinder on the steps. One of the suspects put the cigar in his mouth, jumped off the porch and began to run–but he was caught. The 17-yearold Kearny juvenile was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia, resisting arrest and hindering apprehension by trying to destroy the evidence.

He was taken to headquarters, processed and released to his parents.

Also on Feb. 27, Detectives Scott Traynor and John Telle, who had been following up on an arson in South Kearny in October, were able to track a suspect to the area of the Belleville Turnpike and Schuyler Ave. Taken into custody on warrants charging aggravated arson and failure to control a fire was 28-year-old NorthHaledon resident Michael Colombino.

— Karen Zautyk

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