Two arrested following seizure of drugs, cash

Two Elizabeth residents were arrested and large quantities of heroin and cocaine seized following a narcotics investigation that culminated with a traffic stop earlier this week, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.

Derlin Almanzar-Stewart, 35, and Jose Martinez III, 36, are both charged with first-degree maintaining a drug production facility, four related second-degree drug charges, and four related third-degree drug charges.

Assisted by members of the Elizabeth Police Department, detectives with the Prosecutor’s Office’s Guns, Gangs, Drugs, and Violent Crimes Task Force initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle Almanzar-Stewart and Martinez were traveling in on Wednesday near the area of East Grand Street and Routes 1&9 in Elizabeth. A subsequent search of the vehicle turned up approximately 20 grams of cocaine, 30 grams of heroin, and nearly $700 in cash.

A later search of a home on the 500 block of Maple Avenue in Elizabeth turned up an additional 36 grams of heroin, seven packaged bricks of heroin containing 50 folds apiece, approximately $2,000 in cash, and packaging materials and other paraphernalia used for the processing and packaging of drugs. The total estimated street value of the seized drugs amounted to approximately $37,500.

Almanzar-Stewart and Martinez were lodged in Union County Jail, with bail set at $200,000 apiece by state Superior Court Judge Regina Caulfield.

First-degree criminal charges typically result in sentences of 10 to 20 years in state prison, while second-degree crimes are punishable by 5 to 10 years.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.