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A third person was arrested on Sept. 25 in connection with a sting that resulted in a drug charge bonanza in Maywood, New Jersey. The incident raises questions about how police determined who was responsible for the drugs found at the scene and how suspects can successfully defend themselves in court.

Maywood police officers learned about an alleged drug operation located across from their headquarters in August. Earlier in September, they arrested a man and woman in connection with the operation. The third suspect turned himself in to police from his lawyer's office.

The first suspect was picked up during a stakeout at the residence. He was allegedly caught leaving the home in possession of more than a pound of marijuana. Police charged him and a woman living in the house with both drug possession and intent to distribute. The police then searched the house's second-floor apartment and claimed to find significant evidence of a drug distribution operation. They removed a variety of illegal substances from the apartment, including crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, LSD and marijuana. They also retrieved a large amount of cash and a handgun allegedly loaded with hollow-tip bullets.

The other resident of the apartment turned himself in on Sept. 25. Police are holding him responsible for the majority of the drug activity in the apartment and have charged him with intent to distribute all of the substances found at the scene, intent to distribute within 500 feet of a park and money laundering. They also logged two weapons charges: possession of hollow-point bullets and unlawful possession of a weapon.

People in Bergen County should keep an eye on how this develops. They should pay particular attention to the issues raised by the defense and learn how police figured out who was responsible for the drugs. Did the other two people arrested give police information against the third man in exchange for a deal? Was the truth stretched to throw someone else under the bus?

Source: The Record, "Maywood police arrest another suspect in drug-dealing probe," Marlene Naanes, Sept. 25, 2012

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