Union man arrested on narcotics and weapons charges

UNION, NJ — A two-month long investigation concluded led to the recovery of an illegal “ghost” gun and the arrest of a Union man on multiple weapons and narcotics distribution charges.

On Thursday, Jan. 18, detectives from the Linden Police Department Narcotics Bureau, with assistance from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Task Force, executed a search warrant on the 800 block of Hobson Street in Union.

Luiz Melendez, 53, was arrested outside of the home without incident. Inside the home, detectives recovered an illegal “ghost” gun, along with an illegal high-capacity magazine, as well as a quantity of suspected cocaine and suspected MDMA. More than $85,000 in cash was also seized from the home.

Melendez is charged with a number of weapons-related offenses, including third-degree possession of a “ghost” gun and fourth-degree possession of a high-capacity magazine, as well as with second-degree possession of a weapon while committing a controlled dangerous substance offense and as a certain person not to possess a weapon. Melendez also faces second- and third-degree charges related to the possession and distribution of suspected cocaine and MDMA. He was remanded to the Essex County jail pending a scheduled appearance in Superior Court.

“Illegal drug sales and the violence that accompanies them have had a devastating effect in our community and we are incredibly proud of the investigative work that led to this arrest and the seizure of this dangerous weapon,” said Police Chief David Hart. “I want to thank all of our police officers, as well as our partners in the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, for their continued efforts to keep illegal drugs and guns off of our streets.”

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