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Parking Lot Heroin Deal Leads to Arrests, Police Say

Police say the incident highlights a growing drug trend in Mahwah

An anonymous tip led to the arrest of two alleged heroin dealers in Mahwah Sunday night, Police Chief James Batelli said Monday.

Police arrested two men who were allegedly carrying heroin in two separate instances in the same Mahwah parking lot Sunday night, Batelli said.

Philip Vomero, 48, of Stanhope, was arrested after 9:50 p.m. Sunday when police allegedly found him slumped over in his car in a McKee Drive parking lot. Police received an anonymous tip about a possible drug transaction in the area, Batelli said.

Vomero was arrested and charged with heroin possession and drug paraphernalia charges after police found a brick of heroin and wax paper folds in his car, Batelli said. Vomero was also found to have outstanding warrants out for his arrest on heroin possession charges out of Morris County, police said.

A short while later, police arrested Matthew Dunghi, 23, of Hackettstown, on heroin possession and drug paraphernalia charges after he was found in the same parking lot with heroin and wax folds, Batelli said.

Police investigations have revealed that the two men know each other, but Batelli said the investigation into their relationship is ongoing.

Police are also investigating a “large quantity of gold jewelry,” found in Vomero’s car, Batelli said.

“[It is] believed that the jewelry found in the vehicle was stolen and additional charges may be filed at a later date as the investigation continues,” Batelli said.

These two incidents are the latest in a string of heroin-related arrests in the township that Batelli said is indicative of the drug becoming a growing problem in Mahwah.

The “increase in heroin arrests and the ease with which individuals can obtain heroin is very alarming,” Batelli said. “Heroin is becoming more and more common in suburban towns and Mahwah is no exception.”

Police made heroin-related arrests in Mahwah in August, July, and a string in June.  

Mahwah Investigator Michael Grassi and Officer Michael Blondin investigated the anonymous tip and conducted the arrests.

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Jettboy November 27, 2012 at 10:20 AM
How come there is never any mention of Mahwah Police report of any activity in the Suburban News? I bet this incident will not be there as well.
Kim November 27, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Kudos to the Mahwah Police dept who do a fantastic job and thanks for the article. However, it bothers me that the names of the officers who are involved in arrests such as these are listed in the articles. I somehow feel their privacy & safety as well as the safety of their families may be at risk due to the public printing of their names. I don't believe their names should be made public at all. Is it just me or do other people feel the same?
Kevin November 27, 2012 at 05:22 PM
I think there are a couple reasons why this is.Out of sight out of mind is the first, people see no activity reported they think there is no crime in Mahwah. The second most senior citizens only read the newspaper so they may get the impression all is good in their town. Keeps them voting for the same people. Finally I would think the Dept has a better line of communication with patch then the newspaper, right, wrong or indifferent. I agree these arrests should be in the police blotter of the local paper. Also, Kim I agree to a certain extent with you but unfortunately a police report is a document that can be released and unless there is an underlining reason to withhold the name its a public record.
Chris November 27, 2012 at 09:29 PM
@Kim I completely disagree! If these drug dealers don't want their names in the newspapers or don't want to put their families at risk..then they shouldn't be dealing drugs! I'm so glad they put their names in print! This way anyone who knows them can see what losers they are. They are breaking the law and corrupting our towns.
Kevin November 28, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Chris she is speaking about the officers not the arrested.
Chris November 28, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Oops! @kim I must have read you post incorrectly! I apologize....
Guy Fawkes February 17, 2013 at 12:07 AM
The action that would remove this dilemma from your collective consciences, would be the decriminalization of drugs. Also, I don't see anything in this article about weapons being recovered from the vehicles or persons on the accused. No need to make the officers out to be heros.

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