Three drug investigations yield four arrests, seizures of heroin, guns

UNION COUNTY — Three separate narcotics investigations taking place during the last week have resulted in four arrests and the seizure of two firearms and quantities of heroin, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace Park has announced.

Early on Monday, Feb. 23, Marvin Edwards, Jr., 31, of Linden was pulled over in Rahway, after which a search of his vehicle turned up 25 bricks of heroin containing 50 folds apiece. The drugs have a street value of approximately $12,500, according to the most recently concluded of the three investigations.

A subsequent search of Edwards’s home on the 500 block of Jackson Avenue in Linden yielded a .45-caliber handgun previously reported stolen out of Henderson, N.C. and a loaded .380-caliber handgun.

Edwards was subsequently charged with two second-degree weapons offenses, two second-degree drug offenses, a third-degree drug offense, and third-degree receiving stolen property.

Last Wednesday, on Feb. 18, Derlin Almanzar-Stewart, 35, and Jose Martinez III, 36, both of Elizabeth, were arrested after seven bricks of heroin containing 50 folds apiece and approximately 66 grams of raw, uncut heroin – drugs with an estimated street value of $37,500 – were recovered from their vehicle and a residence where they had been allegedly processing the drugs.

Both Almanzar-Stewart and Martinez were charged with first-degree maintaining a drug production facility, four related second-degree drug charges, and four related third-degree drug charges.

Finally, two days earlier, on Monday, Feb. 16, investigators executing a search warrant on the 1900 block of North Stiles Street in Linden arrested 26-year-old Nicholas Massaro after he was found to be in possession of 124 folds of heroin with an estimated street value of $1,240. Massaro was subsequently charged with a second-degree drug offense and three third-degree drug offenses.

All three investigations were coordinated by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office’s Guns, Gangs, Drugs, and Violent Crimes Task Force, with assistance provided by the FBI’s Newark office and local police.

First-degree criminal charges typically result in sentences of 10 to 20 years in state prison, while second-degree crimes are punishable by 5 to 10 years.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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