Suspect Arrested in Long Branch on Multiple Drug Distribution Allegations
Mondays just got even worse for a man from Paterson, New Jersey, who was stopped and arrested by Long Branch police on Monday, August 24, after police had spent some time investigating the man as an apparent drug crimes suspect. After a search of his automobile, the defendant now faces criminal charges for possession of both cocaine and heroin, as well as first degree charges for distributing heroin, further exacerbated by charges of distributing heroin both in a school zone and within 500 feet of a public park.
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-2 defines many types of drugs, including heroin and cocaine, as controlled dangerous substances, or CDS. Additional NJ laws then criminalize the possession and distribution of such drugs. Per N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10, possessing any amount of heroin or cocaine constitutes a serious felony, regardless of the amount of the drug. Possessing any amount can lead to a conviction for a third-degree indictable offense, carrying penalties of up to 5 years of jail time, fines of up to $35,000, and 6 month driver’s license suspension. Penalties then increase based on the weight of heroin or cocaine at issue, and whether an offender is accused of any intent to distribute the substance. N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(1) mandates that possession of less than half an ounce or heroin or cocaine, with intent to distribute, increases potential fines to a maximum of $75,000. N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(2) dictates that possession of more than ½ ounce of heroin or cocaine, but less than 5 ounces, shall be considered a second degree felony, with potential legal ramifications that include 5-10 years of jail time and fines of up to $75,000. Possessing more than 5 ounces of heroin with intent to distribute is a first-degree crime under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3), with consequences that include 10-20 years of jail time and fines of up to $500,000.
N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7, which prohibits CDS distribution in a school zone, and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7.1, which prohibits CDS distribution within 500 feet of public parks and other public property, may further escalate the potential penalties that this offender will face if convicted. These statutes require mandatory minimum jail terms, with ineligibility for parole or early release during significant portions of any jail sentence that may be issued, for defendants convicted of these offenses. Furthermore, a presumption of incarceration applies in these circumstances, weighting the scales of justice against any defendant who faces these serious drug crimes charges.