ROXBURY, NJ – A Landing man was among 13 people arrested in relation to an investigation of drug distribution at a bar in nearby Hopatcong Borough, police said today.

The man, Christopher Malakuskie, 37, of Mount Arlington Blvd., was charged April 29 with possession of cocaine, said Hopatcong Police Lt. Thomas Metz in a press release.

He said the charges against Malakuskie and the others came about as a result of a month-and-a-half-long probe by undercover investigators at Castaways Tavern on Maxim Drive in Hopatcong.

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“During the course of this investigation undercover officers were in Castaways bar watching cocaine deals inside the bar, right outside of the bar and in vehicles parked in the parking lot,” said the lieutenant. “From this investigation 13 individuals were arrested for either possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine or distribution of cocaine.”

Kmetz said $900, two vehicles, 72 bags of cocaine and “various quantities” of marijuana were seized.

Although police said no employees of Castaways were arrested or accused of drug activity, they are “being charged for having less than premium alcohol in bottles that were labeled premium alcohol,” said Kmetz. For example, bottles supposedly containing Jim Beam were filled with another, less expensive, type of bourbon whiskey, he said.

Additionally, the bar owners “are being investigated by the (state) Department of Criminal Justice for the blatant dealing of narcotics in their establishment,” said the lieutenant. Bar owner Paul Bogensberger could not be reached for comment. 

The investigation was conducted by the Hopatcong Police Department, Sussex County Assistant Prosecutor Jerome Neidhardt, the Morris County Prosecutors Office, Roxbury Police Department, members of the state Department of Criminal Justice Alcohol Beverage Control Unit and Kieran McMorrow of the Sussex County Sheriff's Department K-9 Unit.