Arrest made in drug death of Newark fire captain

Eliasel Baez

NEWARK, NJ — Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens II announced July 29 that Eliasel Baez, 42, of Kearny, was arrested for causing the drug-induced death of Newark Fire Capt. Carlos Rivera.

Baez is charged with strict liability drug-induced death for distributing a controlled dangerous substance that caused the death of Rivera. He is also charged with counts of distribution of CDS cocaine and distribution of CDS within 1,000 feet of a school. 

On Jan. 15, Rivera, 49, of Sayreville, was found unresponsive inside the Newark firehouse of Engine 15 Ladder 7 on Park Avenue. He was taken to University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“Essex County leads the state in drug overdoses. Given those numbers, it is important we fully investigate these cases and charge the perpetrators with strict liability homicide when appropriate,’’ Stephens said. “The facts and circumstances in this case warranted those charges.”

The investigation, which is active and ongoing, is being handled by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force. Anyone with information is asked to contact the ECPO tips line at 1-877-847-7432. Calls will be kept confidential. 

These are accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they enter a guilty plea or are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.