KPD: Drug suspect ID’d, hunted

Last week’s Kearny police blotter included an Aug. 17 incident involving a suspected heroin transaction in the area of Maple St. and Bergen Ave. The alleged buyer, a 51-year old Kearny man, was arrested, but the unidentified female seller avoided apprehension, speeding from the scene in a silver Chevy, police reported, adding that the investigation was continuing.

The very next day, thanks to some skillful work by Vice Unit detectives, the car — a 2016 Malibu — was found parked in an apartment lot on Munn Ave. in East Orange, KPD Chief John Dowie noted. When it was further determined that the vehicle had been rented, the detectives contacted the rental company, which provided information on the female renter. Contacted by police, she reportedly proved to be uncooperative.

Undeterred, the detectives kept on the case and learned that another woman — Natisha Galletto, 34, of East Orange — had access to the Chevy, Dowie said. Warrants were then issued for her arrest on charges of eluding, possession of heroin and possession with intent to distribute. As of press time, Galletto was still on the lam, but the hunt goes on — and bail of $10,000 has been set.

  • ••

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

Aug. 18

At 7:30 p.m., Officers Joseph Martin and Mina Ekladious responded to reports of a large fight on Windsor St. off Bergen Ave. and arrived to see a white 2002 Honda with a smashed windshield attempting to leave the scene. Ekladious stopped the car while Martin located witnesses and potential victims.

Police said it was determined that a 19-year-old male and a 16-year-old female, both Kearny residents, had been assaulted by the Honda’s occupants. The passenger had allegedly hit the girl in the face with a metal scooter and then tried to choke her. The male told police that when he attempted to come to the girl’s aid, the driver tried to run him down, and he struck the windshield in an effort to defend himself. Police said the victims’ accounts were corroborated by witnesses.

Both the driver, John Ramirez, 20, of Kearny, and passenger, a 17-year-old Newark male, were arrested on charges of aggravated assault, possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes, and unlawful possession of a weapon. A second passenger, a 16-year-old Kearny male not involved in the assault, was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The cause of the fight is unknown.

Aug. 20

Shortly after midnight, Officer Derek Hemphill and Sgt. Jack Corbett responded to Passaic and Johnston Aves., where a 2002 Chrysler had hit a utility pole. Police said driver Maria Abreu, 31, of Newark, was unable to maintain her balance long enough to perform field sobriety tests. She was brought to headquarters for an Alcotest and was charged with DWI, careless driving and failure to have her driver’s license in her possession.

  • ••

Officer Michael Gontarczuk, on patrol at Bergen Ave. and Elm St. at 3:40 a.m., observed several individuals milling around a parked 2001 Honda, and when he approached to make inquiries, he reportedly spotted an open bottle of vodka on the rear seat. When the driver turned out to be under 21, the officer began to retrieve the bottle for evidence and, while so doing, also found in the car a partially smoked marijuana cigar and a grinder containing the drug, police said.

Joshua Torres, 18, of Newark, was charged with possession of pot and paraphernalia and underage possession of alcohol.

  • ••

At 5 p.m., Officer Jordenson Jean observed Marc Zarnowski, 25, of Kearny, operating a 2002 Dodge in the area of Halstead St. and Belgrove Drive, confirmed that Zarnowski’s license was suspended and stopped the car at Peden Terrace, police said. Zarnowski was arrested for the license offense and on a $250 Kearny drug-related warrant.

Aug. 21

On patrol at 1:30 a.m. on Harrison Ave., Officers Dominic Dominguez and Jonathan Dowie saw an eastbound 1993 Saab failing to keep right and pulled it over on Fish House Road. Police said the driver, Bryant Berry, 45, of Jersey City, was found to have a suspended license and two $100 Jersey City warrants. He was taken into custody and the Jersey City PD was notified.

  • ••

Officer Hemphill responded to a 4:30 a.m. report of a one-car accident on the 300 block of Schuyler Ave., where he found that a 1999 Chrysler had apparently hit a curb. After FSTs, driver Sybele Santos, 29, of Kearny, was taken to HQ, given an Alcotest and charged with DWI and careless driving.

Aug. 22

Shortly before 1 a.m., at Passaic and N. Midland Aves., Officer Dowie stopped a 2008 Toyota with heavily tinted windows, found it occupied by four people and also reportedly found bits of marijuana strewn about the interior, a plastic bag in the passenger area and a cigar commonly used to roll pot. Police said it was determined that the drug belonged to one passenger, Jair Zevallos, 18, of Morris Plains. He was charged with possession of pot and paraphernalia. The driver got a summons for the window-glazing violation.

Aug. 23

Vice officers, having developed information that two individuals had purchased drugs in Belleville and were heading to Kearny on foot, set up surveillance and, at 5 p.m. observed suspects Gianfranco Zeppetelli, 36, of Harrison, and Stefan  Florea, 26, of Kearny, walking east on the Belleville Pike near Clinton Ave.

When the duo reached Kearny Ave., Florea continued along the Pike, but Zeppetelli remained in the area, where detectives confronted him with their info and confiscated two vials of suspected cocaine, police said.

Soon after, they stopped Florea near Prospect Place and reportedly found him to be in possession of a vial of suspected coke and seven wax folds of heroin, stamped “Coca Cola.”

Both men were booked at HQ on drug- and paraphernalia-possession charges.

  • ••

Shortly before midnight, Officer Ekladious pulled over a 1999 Honda for a headlight violation at Passaic and Magnolia Aves. In plain view in the center console, police said, was a plastic bag of suspected weed [we’re tired of writing “pot”]. Driver Johni Martinez, 18, of Newark, was charged with possession of the drug and paraphernalia and the lighting violation.

— Karen Zautyk

Learn more about the writer ...