KPD: Drug deal could have been lethal

By Karen Zautyk

KEARNY — At 12:52 a.m. on Sunday, March 11, Kearny patrol officers responded to a report of gunfire at Pine and Hickory streets but found no one at the scene. However, investigation revealed that three males had reportedly met at that location to engage in a marijuana sale, and one — identified as Ramon Fernandes, 18, of Newark — had allegedly fired a handgun at an 18-year-old from Kearny … but missed.

On March 13, Fernandes was arrested at his home by KPD detectives with the assistance of the Newark PD Emergency Response Team. Police said he was remanded to the Hudson County Jail on both an ICE detainer and on charges of aggravated assault, pointing a firearm, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose.

That same day, Ryan Valdez, 18, of Kearny, was arrested at KPD headquarters and charged with possession of CDS, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and possession of CDS within 500 feet of a public park. He was released on a summons-complaint.

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

March 9

At 6:19 p.m., Sgt. Thomas Pontrella and Officers Mina Ekladious and Esteban Gonzalez responded to QuickChek after a concerned citizen reported that a man  was possibly attempting to start a fire near the store. There, they found Daniel McKeown, 49, of Kearny, and were told by store management that he apparently was having trouble lighting a cigarette and had lit multiple matches before placing them on a railing. So, no arson. However, McKeown was arrested — on an outstanding $500 defiant-trespass warrant stemming from an unrelated incident — and was remanded to the county jail. (Is smoking permitted there?)

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Uh oh!

Officers Gonzalez and Jose Castillo were called to Hamburgao on Kearny Avenue at 7:34 p.m. on a report that two male juveniles had just stolen the tip jar from the counter and run out of the restaurant. Moments later, police said, Dets. Daniel Esteves and Michal Gontarczuk located two Kearny boys, aged 12 and 14, who fit the description of the thieves and were subsequently identified by Hamburgao management.

The alleged hamburglars were taken to HQ and then released to their guardians pending theft charges by the Juvenile Bureau.

March 10

At 8:17 a.m., Officers Malinda Esposito, J.T. Fearon and Luis Moran responded to a report of a two-vehicle accident, with injuries, on Rt. 7. Police said they found that one driver — Anis Singh, 28, of Teaneck — was driving with a suspended license. He was later released on a summons after being booked at HQ.

A male and female in the second car reportedly refused medical treatment.

March 11

Officer Gonzalez, on patrol on the 300 block of Bergen Avenue at 12:37 a.m., pulled over a car that he had observed driving on the wrong side of the road and detected the odor of a certain drug in the vehicle, police said. Driver Mustfa Khokhar, 30, of Bayonne was arrested and charged on summonses with: possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, possession of a CDS in a MV, driving with a suspended license and failure to surrender same. Police said Khokhar also had a traffic warrant out of Woodbridge and was released after posting the $89 bail on that.

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At 8:45 a.m., Officers John Donovan and Christopher Montes responded to a report that, at Schuyler Avenue and Pine Street, citizens had stopped a man who had been “sleep driving” on the wrong side of the road. After a roadside investigation, the officers arrested Reinier Vales-Salazar, 26, of Guttenberg, who was charged with DWI, reckless driving and operating an uninsured vehicle.

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Officers Ekladious and Jose Perez-Fonseca were called to Walmart at 11:15 p.m. on a report of a male-female shoplifting duo who had just fled the store — the female allegedly pushing loss-prevention staffers while escaping. She was not found, but the KPD officers did locate and apprehend the male, who was subsequently identified by store staff, police said.

Suspect Marvin Brown, 51, of Newark, reportedly had “strange bulges” under his coat and in his coat sleeves. These, police said, turned out to be stolen property, including sandwiches and cookies, and contraband — a crack pipe (not sold at or stolen from Walmart). He was arrested and charged with shoplifting and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police said Brown was also found to have four outstanding warrants: Readington Township, $2,500 full bail; Clifton, $2,500 (full); Springfield, $2,500 (full) and a no-bail warrant from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office. He was remanded to the Hudson County Jail.

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