Paramus & Ridgefield New Jersey Police Department join forces for major Drug Bust

On September 14, the Paramus Patch reported that a two month joint investigation by Ridgefield and Paramus police departments and the Bergen County Narcotic Task Force has concluded following the arrest of three New York men on drug charges outside of a Bergen County Chili’s in mid-August. The investigation resulted in the charges of resisting arrest and drug possession with intent to distribute.  The three men are awaiting trial in Bergen County jail.

The collaborative effort between the Ridgefield and Paramus police departments as well as the BCPO Narcotics Task Force began in mid-August when one of the men allegedly sold two ounces of marijuana to a BCPO agent on two previous occasions. The undercover officers then made arrangements to meet with the men and purchase three pounds of marijuana in the Chili’s parking lot. Four men arrived at the scene and fled by vehicle and on foot upon realizing that the “buyers” were undercover agents. Three of the men were apprehended and one man is still at large.

In New Jersey, the penalties for marijuana possession with intent to distribute are found n N.J.S.A. 2C: 35-5 and carry varying penalties depending upon the quantity or weight that a suspect is in possession of and plans to distribute.

  • If the suspect has less than 1 ounce of marijuana, then it is a 4th degree offense accompanied by up to 18 months in state prison and up to a $15,000.00 fine.
  • If the suspect has more than 1 ounce but less than 5 pounds, then it is a 3rd degree offense accompanied by up to 5 years in state prison and a fine not to exceed $25,000.00.
  • If the suspect has more than 5 pounds, but less than 25 pounds, then it is a 2nd degree offense that carries up to 10 years in state prison and up to a $75,000.00 fine.
  • Finally, if the amount of marijuana in controversy is more than 25 pounds, then it is a 1st degree offense and punishable by up to 20 years in state prison as well as a fine of up to $300,000.00.

It is likely that the three men arrested in the Bergen County Chili’s parking lot will be facing 3rd degree offenses due to the amount of marijuana that they had in their possession. Due to the seriousness of the penalties that they face, it is in their very best interests to retain experienced Bergen County drug possession and DUI attorneys.

In order for the men to be convicted of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, the Bergen County prosecutor must prove four major elements against each man involved. These are: 1.) that the substance in evidence is marijuana, 2.) that the defendant(s) possessed, or had under their control, the marijuana in evidence, 3.) that the defendant(s) each had the intent to distribute the marijuana in evidence, and lastly, 4.) that each defendant acted knowingly or purposely in possessing or having under 
his control with intent to distribute the marijuana in evidence.  It is important to remember that if one element cannot be proven, than the prosecution’s case will fail entirely.

Narcotics cases that involve numerous parties are often complex. It is important that if you or a loved one is facing such charges that you hire skilled and experienced attorneys who can carefully analyze the particular role that you or your loved one played in the incident involved. Oftentimes, various individuals happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and have no intention of actually participating in a narcotics sale and are even unaware of their companions’ intentions.

At the Law Offices of Marshall, Bonus, Proetta & Oliver, we are proud to employ former prosecutors and Bergen County DUI attorneys with over 100 years of experience in criminal defense. If you are facing the uphill battle of pending narcotics charges, then we can help.  Our initial consultations are always free and our clients enjoy unlimited face-to-face conferences with their attorney to build a defense customized to meet their needs.