Four people accused of dealing cocaine and heroin were arrested Wednesday on a slew of charges following a sting by the Essex County Sheriff's Department's Tactical Response Team and Bureau of Narcotics, authorities said.
Detectives from both units executed a search warrant at 254 Weequahic Ave., a single-family residence that has been busted by police before, according to county Sheriff Armando Fontoura.
"Our officers and the New Jersey State Police have conducted operations at this particular location before," Fontoura said in a statement. "We were prepared for anything and everything."
The home was guarded by six aggressive pit bulls, one of which was shot to death in the backyard by an officer fearing for his safety. The Associated Human Society was later called to remove the carcass of the pit bull and the five remaining dogs.
Meanwhile, detectives made a forced entry into the home through the front and side doors, which were barricaded by 2x4 blocks of wood, when there was no response to knocks on the door.
Terrance Carter, 24, Shahiem Edwards, 32, both of Newark, and Halimah Jacobs, 33, of Orange, were immediately detained. Visible on the kitchen table were 13 rounds of hollow point bullets, a digital scale, razor blades and Ziplock bags. Detectives also recovered 140 bags of cocaine and 10 decks of heroin, stamped "King of Diamonds" in blue ink, hidden behind the side-door jamb.
The three were placed under arrested and charged with two counts each of possession of a controlled dangerous substance (CDS), possession of CDS with intent to distribute, possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 1,000 ft. of George Washington Carver Elementary School, as well as one count each of maintaining a fortified structure, possession of narcotics paraphernalia with intent to distribute, conspiracy to violate New Jersey's narcotics laws and possession of prohibited devices (hollow point bullets).
Also arrested was Rodney Smith, 30, of Orange, who was found by detectives at the corner of Weequahic Avenue and Clinton Place. Smith was arrested on two open criminal warrants for the sale of CDS.
The four suspects are being held at Essex County Correctional Facility following their arraignment by Thursday by Judge Roslyn Holmes-Grant. Bail was set at $100,000 cash bond only for Carter and Edwards, $85,000 cash bond only for Jacobs and $150,000 cash bond only for Smith.
– Staff reports