NEWARK, NJ — As part of an ongoing investigation into drug trafficking in Newark’s Central Ward, a semi-automatic handgun and close to $1,000 in illegal narcotics were seized on the evening of Feb. 20 as Essex County sheriff’s detectives arrested three males and a female.
Sheriff Armando Fontoura said that officers from his department’s Bureau of Narcotics conducted a traffic stop of a suspicious vehicle on Pennington Street after reportedly witnessing the vehicle’s occupants participate in several narcotics transactions throughout the evening.
“Officers first noticed the red Chevrolet Impala on the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Clinton Avenue where an unidentified female, with cash in her hand, entered the vehicle,” Fontoura said. “A few moments later, the female exited the vehicle and began to walk away. Based off of our officers training in law enforcement and the field of narcotics, they immediately recognized a narcotics transaction had taken place.”
Officers began to follow the vehicle as it traveled south on Milford Avenue. During this time, the vehicle stopped and an unidentified male entered and exited the vehicle in the same fashion as officers had first observed.
“Our officers continued to follow the vehicle on its journey, while at the same time requesting support in order to move in and make a stop of the Impala,” Fontoura said. “The vehicle again made a stop on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Gillette Place where a female entered with cash and then exited a few moments later. It was at this time that a pair of officers approached the woman.”
Members of the BON approached the woman, who was later identified as Stacy Manos, 34, of Staten Island, and explained the reason for stopping her. It was at this time that Manos removed two decks of suspected heroin from her pocket and presented it to the officers. She was immediately placed under arrest.
“Upon arresting Ms. Manos, our officers attempted to stop and approach the vehicle in question. Simultaneously, an unidentified male and female were entering the back seat of the vehicle,” Fontoura said. “Our team announced their presence and requested the vehicle be stopped and that all four show their hands. All four individuals in question immediately complied.”
The operator of the vehicle was later identified as Lee Jones, 26, of Newark, while the front passenger was later identified as Nafiz Turner, 28, of Newark, and the backseat passengers were later identified as Rafael Leroux Jr., 42, of Newark, and Licinia Almeida.
“Our officers began a search of the vehicle, which yielded immediate results,” the sheriff said. “Officers came across a black Taurus .45 caliber handgun with one magazine containing eight .45 caliber ammunition rounds and 48 decks of CDS heroin. In addition, our officers also found an orange pill bottle containing eight plastic jugs of CDS crack-cocaine and $200 in suspected narcotics proceeds.”
At this time, Jones and Turner were placed under arrest. Almeida was found to be clear of any wants or holds and subsequently released from the scene without further incident, while Leroux was found to have three outstanding warrants for his arrest and was further placed under arrest.
Jones was charged with illegal possession of a dangerous substance, possession of a dangerous substance in a motor vehicle, unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon while committing a crime. Turner was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. Manos was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and Leroux was charged with violation of probation and failure to make unlawful disposition of CDS.