Dawn raid leads to two arrests for drug trafficking

NEWARK, NJ — In an operation conducted at dawn by a law enforcement task force comprised of Essex County sheriff’s detectives and detectives from the Newark, Bloomfield and Irvington police departments, two suspects were arrested and a high-powered assault rifle and narcotics were seized, according to a Sept. 13 press release from the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Armando Fontoura said the task force executed multiple search warrants at 277 South 11th St. in Newark’s West Ward in an effort to arrest Wil Smith, 32, of Newark, who has been the subject of an ongoing investigation regarding drug trafficking in the area.

“Our officers entered the multifamily residence and located Smith in his first floor apartment,” Fontoura said. “Smith was detained as his apartment was searched and during the sweep a Norico SKS 7.62 caliber Chinese-made assault rifle with an extended capacity ammunition magazine was seized along with a large cache of ammunition of various calibers, and 20 glass containers of ‘crack’ cocaine.”

After placing Smith under arrest, the detectives executed a search warrant for the second-floor apartment, where they arrested Mattie Griffis, 56, who was wanted on multiple warrants for weapons possession, aggravated assault and criminal mischief.

“In the third floor apartment of Omar Henry, age 33, the task force discovered 24 plastic jugs of ‘crack’ cocaine, two cocaine-filled plastic bags and $330 in U.S. currency,” Fontoura said. “The estimated street value of the narcotics comes in at over $1,000 in U.S. currency. The suspect was not home at the time of raid and we continue to seek his whereabouts.”

Smith was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a dangerous controlled substance, possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and illegal possession of ammo.

These charges are accusations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless or until they either plead guilty or are found guilty in a court of law.