NEWARK — As a result of two separate investigations, conducted by Essex County sheriff’s detectives and Bloomfield and Irvington police officers, a reputed Newark Bloods gang member was arraigned on Wednesday, Feb. 24, on a host of weapons and drug charges and an Irvington suspect was arraigned on multiple drug charges.
Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated on Wednesday, Feb. 24, that the two operations were executed on the afternoons of Monday, Feb. 22, and Tuesday, Feb. 23.
“Yesterday, armed with a search warrant for the second-floor apartment at 48½ Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard, our Bureau of Narcotics detectives and local police officers detained the target of our investigation, Jermel ‘Sin’ Medley, 30, as he exited his residence,” Fontoura said on Wednesday, Feb. 24. “Our search yielded the recovery of a loaded SKS assault rifle, a loaded and defaced Hi-Point semi-automatic handgun, a loaded, .45-caliber Llama semi-automatic pistol and small amounts of marijuana and suboxone and oxycodone tablets, along with a variety of narcotics processing and packaging materials.”
Also arrested at the Medley’s apartment was 35-year-old Joanne Vazquez, who was found to be the subject of an open burglary warrant issued by the Newark municipal court.
Medley was charged with two counts each of the unlawful possession of a weapon and the unlawful possession of a weapon while committing a narcotics crime.
Medley was also charged with the unlawful possession of an assault weapon, the unlawful possession of an assault weapon while committing a narcotics crime, illegal possession of a large capacity magazine, illegal possession of body piercing bullets and possession of a defaced firearm.
Medley was further charged with three counts each of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute and possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of Benjamin Franklin School and one count of possession of narcotics paraphernalia.
“On Monday, our narcotics task force also staged a plainclothes surveillance operation in the vicinity of 13 Grace St. in Irvington, in response to numerous neighborhood complaints of drug trafficking,” Fontoura pointed out. “Here, our detectives observed as a suspect, later identified as Rolando ‘Chalo’ Roberts, 44, of Irvington, loitered outside his parked 2005 gold-colored Jeep Grand Cherokee.”
Roberts was approached twice by a male passerby on foot and by the female driver of a Honda Civic. In both instances, Roberts engaged in a brief conversation with the male and female, reached into the Jeep and exchanged items from a black bag for cash.
“After the second transaction, our BON detectives and local police officers moved in to further investigate,” the sheriff noted. “In unobstructed view on the vehicle’s center console was the open black bag filled with illegal narcotics. An inventory of the bag revealed 143 heroin-filled glassine envelops, the majority stamped ‘BRAINSTORM’ in red ink, and 37 vials of ‘crack’ cocaine.”
The estimated street value of the narcotics seized in the two operations is $2,500.
“These arrests demonstrate the tremendous value of integrated operations among local and county law enforcement agencies and intelligence sharing for the overall benefit of the entire Essex County community,” said Bloomfield police Director Samuel DeMaio. “Since criminal activity respects no borders we must act in close harmony to disrupt it where we find it.”
Roberts was charged with two counts each of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute and possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of Thurgood Marshall Elementary School. The suspect was also charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a motor vehicle.
A subsequent search for the male passerby and the female driver proved negative.
At the arraignments on Wednesday, Feb. 24, Medley was ordered held at the county jail in lieu of $150,000 cash bond only and Roberts was ordered held at the jail in lieu of $125,000 cash bond only.
Vasquez was lodged at the jail, where she awaits a court appearance on the Newark municipal warrant.