Sheriff’s detectives recover more than $3.5K in illegal narcotics in two days of drug arrests

NEWARK, NJ — As the result of two separate investigations, three suspects, including a mother and her daughter, were arrested on multiple drug charges July 29 and 30 by Essex County Sheriff’s detectives, according to a July 31 press release.

Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated that detectives from his department’s Bureau of Narcotics conducted a pair of operations as a part of ongoing investigations into narcotics activity in Newark’s central and west wards. The investigations, which took place during two nights, saw sheriff’s detectives recover more than $3,600 in illegal narcotics.

“Our officers were provided several tips from concerned citizens about increased narcotics activity in the area of an apartment complex on the corner of Roseville Avenue and 3rd Avenue West,” Fontoura said. “Our BON detectives and members of our tactical response team approached the building, announced their presence and proceeded to enter. Once inside, our officers discovered several forms of illegal narcotics activity.”

Inside of the building on July 29, officers reportedly witnessed Angel Bonilla, 44 of Newark, emerge from Apt. 6 and slip an unidentified plastic bag containing a white substance into his back pocket. Based on their training and experience, the officers immediately identified this substance as illegal narcotics; they approached Bonilla and placed him under arrest.

“Once officers placed Bonilla into custody, they then entered the apartment where they located Sandra Almodovar, 47, of Puerto Rico, who was in the process of cutting up and packaging cocaine,” Fontoura said.

The following day, July 30, Fontoura’s BON detectives conducted a traffic stop on the corner of Mount Prospect and Victoria avenues. During the stop, officers arrested the 17-year-old daughter of Sandra Almodovar for possession of illegal narcotics.

“Our officers observed a black Nissan Altima driving recklessly in the area of 89 Mount Prospect Ave. They proceeded to make a routine motor vehicle stop, and once they approached the vehicle, they realized the identity of the juvenile female,” the sheriff said. “Our officers noticed that the female had her hand clenched as if she were attempting to hide something. They then asked her to open her hand and discovered she had a vial with a silver top containing suspected CDS crack cocaine.”

Upon her arrest, the juvenile female reportedly turned over several other forms of illegal narcotics.

In total, sheriff’s detectives seized more than 7 grams of heroin and more than 28 grams of crack cocaine, with a street value totaled at more than $3,000. Additionally, the team of detectives apprehended drug-making paraphernalia and $390 in narcotics proceeds.

Bonilla was charged with illegal possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute. Almodovar was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, maintaining an illegally fortified structure and willful non-support. Additionally, Almodovar was found to have an open warrant for her arrest out of the sheriff’s department. The juvenile female was charged with illegal possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled dangerous substance within 50 feet of public property, operating a motor vehicle without a license and improper use of a turn signal.

Upon further investigation, officers discovered that Almodovar is the wife of Icxandro Santiago, 38, an alleged member of the Latin Kings, who was arrested by sheriff’s detectives in October 2018. Santiago is the stepfather of the juvenile female.

Both Almodovar and Bonilla were transported to the Essex County Correctional Facility while the juvenile female was transported to the Essex County Juvenile Detention Center.

These charges are merely accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless or until they plead guilty or are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.