EAST ORANGE, NJ  – In two separate arrests, a law enforcement task force comprised of Essex County sheriff’s detectives and officers from the Newark and Bloomfield police departments took five suspects into custody on weapons and narcotics charges.

Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated that in complaints of drug trafficking in the parking lot behind a discount variety store at Central Avenue and Nassau Place in East Orange the task force conducted a plainclothes surveillance operation on Monday night.

“Our officers observed as a 2007 Infiniti sedan slowly pulled into the lot shortly before 11:00 p.m.,” Sheriff Fontoura said.  “After parking their vehicle the driver, Zyair Anderson, 19 of Roselle, and his passenger, Shaquana Calhoun, 18, also of Roselle, nervously scanned the immediate area.”

Sign Up for E-News

With the suspects demonstrating signs consistent with illegal activity the officers identified themselves and moved in to further investigate.

“Anderson could not produce a driver’s license and Calhoun could not produce any personal identifiers,” the sheriff added.  “In the back seat of the car our officers spotted a large duffle bag with the barrel of a rifle protruding from it.  A search of the bag revealed an AR-15 military assault rifle with a high capacity magazine with 18 rounds.  Both suspects were then placed under arrest.”

Earlier Monday evening, the officers executed a search warrant for 164 Roseville Avenue in Newark.  The warrant had been issued following repeated neighborhood complaints of drug trafficking at that location.

“Three suspects, Joshua Camacho, 25 of Orange, Michael Kearney, 36, and Monira Braxton, 35, both of Newark, were spotted in the hallway of the residence by our detectives.  All three ran into a first floor apartment in an attempt to elude arrest,” Fontoura noted.  “As our officers chased them down to a pantry at the rear of the apartment where they were seen throwing items from their waistbands to the floor.”

35 heroin-filled glassine envelopes, stamped ‘MOST WANTED’ in red ink, and 93 plastic vials of ‘crack’ cocaine were recovered at the scene.  The estimated street value of the narcotics is $5,000.

Anderson and Calhoun were each charged with the unlawful possession of a weapon, the unlawful possession of a large capacity magazine and conspiracy.  Anderson was also issued a motor vehicle summons for being an unlicensed driver.  

Camacho, Kearney and Braxton were each charged with two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of CDS with intent to distribute, possession of CDS with intent to distribute within 500 feet of Washington Plaza Park and conspiracy to violate New Jersey’s narcotics laws.

The three suspects were also charged with resisting arrest by flight and hindering apprehension.

Camacho was also found to be the subject of four warrants issued by the municipal courts of Montclair, East Orange, Orange and Union as well as four warrants issued by the Essex vicinage of the Superior Court.

All five suspects were lodged at the county jail where they await bail hearings.