KPD: Two women, one from East Newark, thought they were in the UK, possessed slew of illicit drugs

Two women, one from East Newark, should have stayed home one early morning last week — but because they didn’t, lots of illicit drugs were hauled off the streets, the Kearny Police Department says.

On Jan. 12, at shortly after 2 a.m., Officer Anthony Oliveira was patrolling near Elm Street and Bergen Avenue when he says observed a double-parked vehicle involved in a suspicious interaction with a man who immediately walked away.

The vehicle then proceeded south on Elm Street; however, the driver, apparently forgetting she was not in Great Britain, drove the car in the opposite lane of flow (against traffic), on the left side of the street, then did not stop for a stop sign at Wilson Avenue.

Officer Oliveira conducted a vehicle stop and spoke to the two occupants, Maryn L. Kaplan, 37, of Fair Lawn & Bettsy Lozada, 39, of East Newark.

When he found out the driver, Lozada’s, license was suspended, he asked her to exit the vehicle (so that she could be arrested). Upon her exiting, Officer Oliveira noted drugs in plain view. He then asked the passenger to exit the vehicle, and Oliveira says Kaplan proceeded to drop a crack pipe to the ground, in front of back up Sgt. Michael Andrews.

Ultimately, a search of the car and the occupants yielded a wax fold containing suspected CDS-heroin stamped “Batman and Robin” in red ink; a wax fold containing suspected CDS-heroin stamped “John Gotti” in blue ink; four small vials containing suspected CDS-crack cocaine; used hypodermic syringes; a metal rod; a broken crack pipe; several empty wax folds containing residue of suspected CDS-heroin stamped “Final Call” in black ink; several empty vials containing residue of suspected CDS-crack cocaine; several balls of copper wool mesh; burnt spoons; two wax folds containing suspected CDS-heroin stamped “Batman and Robin” in red ink;  seven vials containing suspected CDS-crack cocaine; four more crack pipes; several more empty wax folds containing suspected CDS-heroin stamped “Batman and Robin” in red ink and “Final Call” in black in; four empty vials containing residue of suspected CDS-crack cocaine;  several cut straws; large amount of copper wool mesh; and two more small metal rods.

The duo were arrested and the vehicle was impounded and both were charged with  possession of a schedule I-IV CDS heroin), possession of a Schedule I-IV CDS crack cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Lozada also issued summonses for driving suspended, failure to keep right, disregarding a stop sign, and operation of a vehicle while in possession of narcotic.

Based on public safety assessment scores generated by the NJ Courts system, Kaplan was charged and released while Lozada was charged and sent to the Hudson County Jail in South Kearny.


On Jan. 13, at 2:06 a.m., Officers Castillo and Travis Witt were dispatched to Johnston Avenue where a car had reportedly crashed into several parked vehicles.

There, they found a black Nissan Pathfinder, driven by  Maria C. Fontain, 56, of Kearny.

She told the officers she was traveling from one friend’s house to anither friend’s house. Officers say they detected signs of impairment; however, Fontain said she consumed exactly a single beer. She also didn’t recall being involved in any kind of crash (hint, she had been.)

Ambulance personnel determined Fontain had to be taken to hospital. While under arrest at the hospital, a blood draw was conducted and Fontain was charged operating under the influence of liquor or drugs, reckless driving, leaving the scene of a crash and failure to report and accident.

Her vehicle, meanwhile, was impounded.


On Jan. 12 at around quarter to 7 p.m., Officers Bismark Karikari and Michael Ore were dispatched to the Hackensack Avenue Warming Shelter (South Kearny) where Patricia Lavacchi, 49, allegedly arrived heavily intoxicated and causing a scene, cursing at employees and behaving disorderly.

Since it is against the shelter’s policy to allow drunkards to stay there, she was asked to leave but refused to comply. She stated her legal name was “suck my d!¢k,” which is neither a common first name nor surname. She also reportedly threatened to fight staff and officers and repeated de-escalation attempts failed.

After well over 20 minutes or “combat,” she still refused to leave the shelter’s property and refused courtesy transports to other places she could stay or to hospitals. She further threatened to harm the obliging officers and so she was ultimately arrested.

On her person were several bottles of alcohol. She refused to be handcuffed to the processing area bar (which allows for the freeing of one hand for comfort) and continued to violently bang on tables, shake and scream.

Once placed into a holding cell, she removed her clothing and began to expose her intimate areas to officers. She covered the cameras in the cell block and continued to bang on the doors and scream.

Throughout the entire ordeal, Lavacchi a white woman, called Officers Karikari, who is Black and Ore, who is Latino, racial slurs, including the “N-word,” and nearly every expletive imaginable in English lexicon.

We are told the patience and self-restraint exercised by the two officers was seemingly boundless.

Ultimately, she was arrested, charged with defiant trespass, obstructing, lewdness and disorderly conduct.

Somehow, after all of this, she requested to be taken to a light rail station in Jersey City — and the same officers she verbally accosted obliged.


On Jan. 13 at 11 a.m., Officer Cort Montanino fielded a report from a woman who stated that she was walking home from a friend’s house when a man began to follow her. The man, she says, then asked her to come home with him and without her permission, grasped onto her buttocks; however, she was able to break free and scurry home safely.

However, as she rushed home, she noted the man continued following her.

Det. Anthony Nunez immediately opened an investigation and obtained camera footage. The suspect had been described as a heavy-set Latino man who wore a dark colored “Harrison Soccer” hooded sweatshirt and grey sweatpants. He was quickly identified with the camera footage. The reported criminal-sexual contact was also captured on other camera footage.

The next day, Det. Nunez, along with Sgt. Ryan Stickno and Officers Cort Montanino and Sean King responded to a local residence where they arrested David D. Simoes, 43, of Kearny, and charged him with fourth-degree criminal-sexual contact.

Initially, Simoes denied touching victim’s buttocks, stating that he instead “pushed” them. This semantical difference seemed indistinguishable, police say, but in any case, Simoes later admitted to his actions, after being advised they were captured on surveillance video.

Simoes was remanded to the Hudson County Jail.


On Jan. 16, at half 6 a.m. — yes, at 6:30 a.m. — Sgt. Jack Grimm and Officer Jonathan Dowie were dispatched to 700 Belleville Turnpike on a report of an intoxicated man behind the wheel.

Upon arrival, neither Grimm nor Dowie could raise the as he continued falling back asleep. After the fourth attempt, they were able to shut off the engine, take the keys and rouse Toby A. Echols, 44, of Newark, whom they say reeked of alcohol.

Grimm and Dowie say they saw a 1.75 l. bottle of Pineapple Vodka in the car , which was 85% empty.

After being cleared by EMTs and performing poorly on field-sobriety tests, Echols was arrested and charged with drunken driving.

The alcohol reading, taken at almost 8 a.m., still registered as .1%, (still above the .08% limit).

His vehicle was impounded and was later released to a responsible party.


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Det. Sgt. Michal Gontarczuk | Kearny Police Department

Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, a place where he has served on and off since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on Facebook Live, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to West Hudson to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.