Essex County man sentenced to extended term of 17 years for drug offenses

An Essex County man has been sentenced to an extended term of 17 years in state prison after being convicted at trial for several serious narcotics offenses resulting from two arrests taking place several weeks apart in Linden last year, acting Union County Prosecutor Lyndsay V. Ruotolo and Linden Police Chief David Hart jointly announced Wednesday.

Sentencing for 42-year-old Lamont Taylor of Irvington took place Friday before Union County Superior Court Judge Robert Kirsch.

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 Prosecutor’s Office Legal Chief of the Trial Division, Robert Vanderstreet, who represented the State at sentencing.

The detectives followed Taylor’s vehicle out of the neighborhood and initiated a traffic stop, at which point they arrested him and 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, and was followed by several hours of jury deliberations 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. 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 on Friday, July 26, 2019. Judge Kirsch presided over both trials, while former Union County Assistant Prosecutor Beverly Nwanna handled the prosecution for the State.  

In total, Taylor 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. These facts, coupled with an extensive criminal history, made Taylor eligible to be sentenced to an extended term in state prison.

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