Last week, New Jersey authorities continued their operations against drug dealers near schools in the Newark area. Police arrested 46 people on assorted alleged drug offenses, gun charges and other miscellaneous offenses. Before that dragnet, 41 people were arrested in a similar but earlier series of raids in Newark.

The police allege that they recovered four guns, 383 decks of heroin, 309 vials and/or bags of cocaine, 50 baggies containing marijuana and assorted pills. They valued the drugs seized at a street price of $7,800, which appears to be a low amount, considering the widespread drug sales alleged. They also picked up $4,771.39 in cash, according to authorities.

The dragnet appears to have targeted only small street dealers. For example, the amount of cash seized from 46 arrestees comes to an average of roughly $103 per suspect. As long as the police do not dent the higher echelons of an organization, the daily drug business is not likely to be seriously disrupted. Another weakness of such roundups, which may be used by assertive defense counsel to forge a defense for an accused, is that the wholesale arrest of so many people at one time leaves open room for mistakes.

This can result in arrests through mistaken identity and the arrest of innocent bystanders or family members who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. This operation was billed as being carried out near schools, with the implication that the dealers were selling to children or were within 1,000 feet of a school in violation of the New Jersey criminal code. However, the arrest list consists of a vast majority of suspects not charged with the school distance violation and indeed, many of the arrestees were charged with trespass and outstanding warrants instead of drug offenses.  

Source: Newark, NJ Patch, “NJ Drug, Gun Bust: 46 Arrested, 383 Bags Of Heroin Seized In 2nd Major Roundup In 2 Weeks”, Tom Davis, May 9, 2017