have made six arrests on charges related to heroin possession over the past five weeks, Police Chief James Batelli told Patch Thursday. The number of arrests marks a “concerning and marked increase,” in the number of this type of arrest in the township, he said.
“If these arrests had been spread out over the year, it probably would not have been as significant,” Batelli said. “But, we are starting to see a lot more heroin coming into Mahwah.”
Batelli credits three factors with the increase of the drug – price, availability and potency. “Heroin is much less expensive than it used to be, and we’re finding that people are getting the drug in Paterson. So instead of having to go over the bridge or tunnel to get to New York, which typically have large a police presence, the drug can be more easily acquired in NJ." The “purity level” of the drug is also on the rise, he said,
All but one of the arrests were made during or after motor vehicle stops. “We have always had the philosophy of looking beyond the traffic ticket during a stop, so there are a lot of ways our officers are trained in to look of signs of heroin use in cars that are being pulled over.”
Batelli also said the PD believes heroin has been the true culprit behind . “We believe that some of the money taken during home invasions during the past few weeks has gone to supporting a heroin addiction.”
Batelli explained the following arrests made over the past five weeks:
- A Mahwah resident was arrested on possession charges after police were called to a Route 17 office building, where the woman was passed out in the stairwell, Batelli said. She was reportedly a friend of someone who works in the building, he said.
- Christopher Antoniou, 36, Roscoe, New York was arrested by Officers Iorio and Blondin for possession of heroin, Batelli said. The arrest came during a motor vehicle stop when officers observed both physical and behavioral symptoms of narcotic use, he said. During the motor vehicle stop and a search of the vehicle, two bricks of heroin were located in the vehicle. Each brick contained approximately 50 waxed paper folds of the drug, Batelli said.
- Jessica Kilduff, 23, was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia, Batelli said. Lucas Sacher, 26, was also charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, he said. According to Batelli, Officer Ryan Hill found a bundle of 10 wax paper folds of heroin and hypodermic needles in their car during a motor vehicle stop, Batelli said.
- Jeison Ayala of Newburgh, New York was arrested by Officers Richard Albro and Stacy Conley for possession of heroin and possession of a prohibited weapon/device, Batelli said. Ayala was allegedly found with nine wax folds believed to be heroin in the center console of his vehicle and a large butterfly knife, he said.
- Lisa Buono, 39, of Hurley, NY, was arrested after police allegedly found a brick of heroin and several hypodermic needles, methadone pills and paraphernalia used in the ingestion of heroin in her car, Batelli said. Buono was charged with possession of a hypodermic needle, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of heroin, he said. Her boyfriend Louis Little, 41, of West Hurley, New York was charged with possession of heroin, possession of methadone and possession of a hypodermic needle. Mahwah K9 Officer Robert Rapp, and dog Dome, made the arrests after a traffic stop.
- Daniel Iams, 26, of Monroe, NY, was charged with possession of heroin, possession of suboxone, possession of hypodermic needles, possession of drug paraphernalia and given numerous motor vehicle summonses after police allegedly found heroin in his car during a traffic stop, Batelli said. As a result of a continued investigation by Investigator Michael Grassi, additional items found in the vehicle resulted in Iams being charged with receiving stolen property and that information was turned over to Rockland County officials.
Batelli called the number of arrests a “disturbing trend. We have this perception that heroin addicts are on street corners in big cities, but that is not what we are seeing now. These people live in the suburbs,” he said.
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