MAHWAH, N.J. – An alert Mahwah police officer arrested two men and a woman who authorities said had nearly a half-pound of heroin and a handgun, among other contraband, after he found their car parked behind a Route 17 motel.
Officer Christopher Fasulo as on routine patrol when he spotted the 2003 Cadillac with temporary New Jersey license plates with the driver’s side door open and two occupants inside around 2:30 a.m., Police Chief James, N. Batelli said.
Fasulo smelled marijuana and spotted several cellphones in the car as the driver, 29-year-old ex-con James J. Miller of Paterson, and the passenger, a relative of his from Florida named Jaeson M. Grant, 21, told him they were both staying at the hotel, Batelli said.
Backups arrived and a computer check turned up an active warrant for Miller out of Paramus.
In the front of the car officers found rubber-banded bundles of wax paper folds of heroin and a small amount of marijuana, the chief said. In back they tunred up four brick-sized heroin packages, he said.
[In New Jersey, a bundle is 10 bags. A brick is 50 bags – or five bundles.]
The officers also found an acquaintance of both men, 26-year-old Sharissa Edwards Manning, in a second-floor room of the hotel, the chief said.
She was wearing an ankle bracelet that allowed her to remain free on bail following a previous arrest out of Passaic County – and had three outstanding warrants, he said.
A search of the room turned up a .357 Smith and Wesson handgun, Batelli said. Officers also seized $2,200 in suspected drug proceeds, he said.
A judge later set $250,000 bail for Miller and $150,000 for Grant – both of whom were charged with various drug offenses. Miller also was charged with various weapons counts, including being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Both men were taken to the Bergen County Jail. Edwards-Manning was turned over to Passaic County authorities.