Two men were arrested – one after he attempted to flee out of a third-story window of a building in Newark – and multiple firearms and significant quantities of cocaine and other drugs were seized following the culmination of an investigation into narcotics trafficking in the area, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.
Trent Dillon, 28, and Jeffrey Croucher, 33, both of Newark, are charged with first-degree possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, three second-degree drug offenses, four second-degree weapons offenses, six third-degree drug offenses, three fourth-degree weapons offenses, and a third-degree charge of receiving stolen property.
A taxi Dillon had been traveling in on Thursday evening was pulled over on Morris Avenue in Union Township, according to the investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office’s Guns, Gangs, Drugs, and Violent Crimes Task Force. The Union County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit was subsequently requested, after which a police dog alerted handlers to the presence of drugs in a backpack that was in possession of Dillon at the time.
A search of the backpack turned up approximately two ounces of cocaine, after which Dillon was arrested and transported to the Union County Police Department for processing. The investigation subsequently led detectives to a home on Tremont Avenue in Newark, where Croucher was spotted exiting a third-floor window carrying a backpack of his own.
Refusing orders to stop, Croucher leaped to the rooftop of a neighboring building, then jumped onto the rooftop of an adjacent business. With the assistance of the Essex County Sheriff Office’s SWAT team, however, detectives cornered and arrested him there, also recovering the backpack.
Found in the backpack were three loaded handguns, one of which had been previously reported stolen from an East Orange Police Department officer. Also recovered from the backpack were approximately 300 grams of cocaine and approximately 100 grams of MDMA, the street drug better known as “molly.”
A subsequent search of the Tremont Avenue home, conducted with the assistance of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, turned up approximately 450 rounds of ammunition for eight different types of firearms, including hollow-point ammunition, plus a bulletproof vest, several high-capacity gun magazines, approximately two pounds of marijuana, small quantities of heroin, scales and packaging materials used for the processing and distribution of narcotics, and approximately $6,900 in cash.
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.