Police task force recovers handguns, heroin

NEWARK, NJ — A male suspect was arrested Aug. 19 on weapons and drug charges by a law enforcement task force comprising Essex County sheriff’s detectives and detectives from the Newark, Irvington and Bloomfield police departments. As a result of the arrest, two semi-automatic handguns and heroin were seized.

Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated in an Aug. 20 press release that the task force conducted a surveillance operation on the evening of Aug. 19 in response to numerous neighborhood complaints of narcotics trafficking in the area of South 11th Street and 11th Avenue in Newark.

“As our detectives moved into place, a crowd of a dozen people congregated in front of a liquor store at that location,” Fontoura said. “Among the crowd was a suspect, later identified as Akhir Robinson, 33, of Newark, who was observed exchanging items from his waistband for cash with a male.”

Believing they had just witnessed a drug sale, the detectives moved in to further investigate.

“In announcing our presence, Robinson raced inside the liquor store and removed a fanny pack, which he had been wearing across his chest, and tossed it to the floor,” Fontoura said. “The fanny pack was found to contain a fully loaded, .380 caliber, Kel-Tec semi-automatic handgun and Robinson was found to be in possession of five heroin-filled envelopes, stamped ‘WING STEP’ in blue ink, and $90 in cash.”

Others in the crowd scattered in various directions, including the suspected drug buyer. A search of the area for his whereabouts provided negative results.

“In taking Robinson into custody, our detectives noticed numerous rice grains on the ground around a nearby parked 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis,” Fontoura said. “Rice grains are commonly used in storing narcotics to keep them dry and a visual examination of the vehicle yielded the presence of a fully loaded, .40 caliber, Smith & Wesson semi-automatic with an extended capacity magazine on the floorboard of the car. The weapon was reported as stolen out of Madison, Ky., on Feb. 5, 2018.”

A motor vehicle check of the Mercury revealed that it had been owned by Yanik Toney-El, 27, of East Orange. She was positively identified as being at the scene at the time of Robinson’s arrest. A further visual inspection of the car yielded two similarly stamped heroin-filled envelopes.

Robinson was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a weapon while committing a narcotics crime, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of CDS with intent to distribute and possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. School.

Charges of unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of a high capacity ammunition magazine, possession of CDS and receiving stolen property were filed against Toney-El.

Toney-El’s vehicle was towed to a secure location and the task force has applied for a search warrant for the car. Further charges against the suspect are pending a result of the search warrant finding. The search for Toney-El is also ongoing.

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.