KPD: Have gun, will travel — by taxi

By Karen Zautyk

On Jan. 15 at 10:14 p.m., near Brighton and Bergen avenues, Kearny Dets. Mike Andrews and Cesar Negron and Officers Jonathan Dowie and Dave Bush observed Vincent Murray, 18, of Kearny, enter a cab, which then began to drive away. Police said they were aware Murray was the subject of an outstanding Kearny arrest warrant (carrying $600 bail) on a charge of obstructing the administration of law.

According to police, he was also “the subject of numerous citizen tips to the KPD concerning his possession of a firearm and suspicion of drug dealing.”

The officers stopped the cab to place Murray under arrest and, upon searching him, reportedly found a loaded Hi-Point .380-caliber handgun tucked into his waistband.

Murray was lodged in the Hudson County Jail on a new warrant charging unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose, and possession of handgun ammunition without a firearms ID card.

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

Jan. 9

At 2:09 p.m., Officer Sean Wilson observed two males fighting near Kearny Avenue and Afton Street and told them to cease, but his order went unheeded and he had to physically separate them. One combatant, later found to be a 16-year-old Kearny youth, was ordered to sit on the ground and complied, but police said the second, Jose Brano Valenzuela, 18, of Newark, ran from the cop.

Wilson caught up to him but, during handcuffing, Valenzuela reportedly broke loose and ran down Afton. Wilson caught him again, at which time he was brought to the ground and cuffed.

Valenzuela was charged on a summons with simple assault and resisting arrest and later released. The Kearny teen was charged on a juvenile-delinquency complaint with simple assault and released to a parent.

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Officer Nicole Williams, on patrol at the Gunnell Oval at 8:44 p.m., found an occupied Toyota Corolla illegally stopped near a softball field — “illegally” because, by ordinance, town parks close a half-hour after sunset.

When the officer approached to investigate, police said, she was met with the familiar odor of burnt marijuana and driver Christopher Monterrosa, 32, of Kearny, displayed signs of impairment. A search incident to his arrest reportedly revealed two containers of pot on him. He was charged on summonses with possession of pot/paraphernalia, being under the influence of a CDS, DWI, CDS in an MV, failure to possess registration and insurance and violation of the park-hours ordinance violation). He was later released to a responsible adult.

Police said a search of the car yielded a bag belonging to back-seat passenger Sofia Cordero, 19, of Dover, and holding a glass pipe, a vape pen and a grinder and container — all containing marijuana residue. Cordero was charged on summonses with possession of pot/paraphernalia, failure to wear seatbelt and the ordinance violation.

Front-seat passenger Alisson Cifuentes, 20, of Kearny, was not arrested but was issued her own ordinance-violation summons.

Jan. 10

At 4:15 a.m., Officer Williams was on the 500 stretch of the Belleville Turnpike when her attention was drawn to a parked tan Mazda blocking a business driveway. Her suspicions were heightened due to patrol alerts over the last year concerning trailer and truck burglaries/thefts in this area.

As she drove by, Williams checked the vehicle’s license plate and found that the registered owner’s license was suspended. She made a U-turn to investigate, at which time the Mazda reportedly accelerated onto eastbound Rt. 7 at a high rate of speed. Due to the speed, she was not able to close the distance until reaching the Newark Turnpike. Police said she then turned on her lights and sirens, “but now the real chase was on as the car pulled away even faster.”

For public safety concerns, Williams terminated the pursuit at Harrison and Bergen avenues, but the Mazda was quickly located by Officer Chris Medina at the dead end of Sanford Avenue. There, officers arrested driver Karl Biassey, 31, of Jersey City, who was  charged with eluding, driving while suspended, obstruction of windshield, careless driving and parking violations. He was sent to the county jail.

Passenger Yanina Barnet, 37, of Newark, also ended up in the jail on a warrant charging marijuana possession.

Jan. 11

Officer Anthony Oliveira, patrolling on the 200 block of the Belleville Turnpike at 8:59 p.m., stopped a Kia Optima for having a non-functioning headlight. While speaking with driver Jordan Villalta, 21, of Harrison, and passenger Felix Calderon, 20, of North Arlington, Oliveira reportedly smelled the odor of raw marijuana.

Police said a search discovered one vacuum-sealed bag of the drug on Calderon and inside his backpack, a Tupperware container holding six more vacuum-sealed bags and two Ziploc bags of weed.

Calderon was also found to be wanted by Hudson County (no-bail child-support warrant); Roseland (DWS, $1,500 bail), and Jersey City (careless driving, $100).

He was turned over to the Hudson County Sheriff.

Villalta was issued a summons for maintenance of lamps and released at the scene.

Jan. 15

At 12:08 p.m., Officers Alan Stickno and Ruben Rivera responded to Walmart, where security reported that Victor Columbo, 39, of Morristown, had concealed $871.30 worth of printer ink cartridges in his bag. A search of that bag reportedly also yielded a hypodermic needle and glass crack pipe.

Columbo also was found to be wanted by Kearny (shoplifting, $600 bail); Old Bridge (two warrants — traffic offense and hindering apprehension, each $500), and Dover (DWS, $750). He was charged on a new Kearny shoplifting warrant and sent to the county jail.

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