WATCHUNG, NJ – Often criminal defendants are not the smartest people, but you don’t expect them to hand over their personal stash of cocaine to the police officer manning the X-ray machine.

But on Thursday last week, that’s what Somerset resident Marcellous Goines did when heading to court for a hearing on unrelated causes. 

North Plainfield police officer Enrico Perrone told Goines to empty his pockets and Goines followed orders, taking everything out and placing them in a plastic bin to be examined.  Goines then walked through the detector without incident, at least until Perrone took a look at the bin coming out of the machine.

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“Once Goines walked through the metal detector he began to retrieve his items,” wrote Perrone in his official report.  “I observed a clear plastic knot containing a white powder amongst his things.” As a police officer, he’d been trained to recognize various controlled substances.

“I recognized the white substance to be cocaine,” Perrone wrote.

Perrone placed Goines under arrest and he was taken from the court in Watchung to the North Plainfield police headquarters for processing, then released with a court date to face the new charges of cocaine possession.

The boroughs of North Plainfield and Watchung have a joint services agreement where court sessions are held in the Watchung building and much of the back office work is done by North Plainfield staff.