Essex County man convicted on all six drug counts following consecutive trials

An Essex County man has been found guilty on all counts filed against him after being arrested for serious narcotics offenses twice in Linden last year, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Linden Police Chief David Hart jointly announced Wednesday.

Following separate trials that took place earlier this month, 42-year-old Lamont Taylor of Irvington was convicted on one second-degree and five third-degree drug offenses, including possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute within 500 feet of a public park, and within 1,000 feet of school property.

On Thursday, June 28, 2018, Linden Police Department detectives witnessed Taylor engage in a hand-to-hand drug transaction on the 200 block of East Price Street, behind the Linden Public Schools Academy of Excellence, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Beverly Nwanna, who prosecuted both trials.

The detectives followed Taylor’s vehicle out of the neighborhood and initiated a traffic stop, at which point they recovered quantities of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine from the vehicle, as well as approximately $500 in cash.

Taylor was convicted following a two-day trial that commenced on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, as well as several hours of jury deliberation spread over two days.

Taylor’s second trial began shortly thereafter. At that time, a separate jury heard evidence indicating that several weeks before his June 28, 2018 arrest, Taylor was pulled over on U.S. Routes 1&9 southbound, after being spotted swerving between lanes by Linden Police Department patrol officers, Nwanna said.

A search of Taylor’s vehicle turned up approximately 150 folds of heroin and approximately $2,000 in cash.

Taylor’s second trial also lasted two days, and resulted in convictions returned by the jury last Friday. State Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch presided over both trials.

Sentencing in the case has been scheduled for Friday, September 13, 2019, before Judge Kirsch, at which time Taylor will be eligible for an extended term of 10 to 20 years in state prison due to an extensive criminal history.

Members of the Linden Police Department Narcotics and Patrol units, Union County Forensics Laboratory, and Narcotics Strike Force of the Prosecutor’s Office contributed to these investigations and prosecutions.