Newark, NJ — As part of an ongoing investigation into drug trafficking in the city’s South  Ward, a semi-automatic handgun and close to $2000 in illegal narcotics proceeds were seized on Thursday evening as Essex County sheriff’s detectives arrested an adult male.

Sheriff Armando Fontoura stated that officers from his department’s Bureau of Narcotics conducted a search of a vehicle on Education Way after receiving valuable information about a possible uptick in potential narcotics crimes in the area.

 “Our detectives were provided information about a black 2018 Dodge Ram which had reportedly been involved in illegal narcotics activity,” the sheriff said. “Detectives were given the description of a suspect known as “Big,” who was later identified as Bashir Clark, 35, of Newark. According to our sources, Clark would drive around the city's South Ward engaging in several narcotics transactions.

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Following up the information on Thursday evening, detectives first encountered the Dodge Ram on the corner of Elizabeth Avenue and West Peddie Street. Detectives identified Clark as the driver and observed him make contact with an unidentified male.

After a brief conversation, the unidentified male exchanged cash with Clark in exchange for unidentified items. Due to their training in the field of narcotics, the detectives immediately realized a hand-to-hand narcotics transaction had taken place. 

 “Upon witnessing this transaction, our officers followed Clark as he drove his vehicle to an empty lot on 4 Education Lane,” Fontoura noted. “It was at this time that our officers were advised to proceed with a motor vehicle stop of Clark's Dodge Ram.” 

The team of officers approached the suspect's vehicle and activated their lights to signal a motor vehicle stop. At this time, they observed Clark frantically moving and pushing something by the dashboard of the vehicle. The Detectives immediately began to shout commands for Clark to stop moving.

 “Our officers approached Clark and had him open the front door of the Vehicle. When he did so, they immediately smelled the strong oder of marijuana. Officers again asked Clark to exit the vehicle, but he continued to be hesitant to do so. At this time, our officers detained Clark and removed him from the car,” the sheriff said. “Our detectives then began a search of the vehicle where they observed a large amount of currency totaling $1903 in illegal narcotics proceeds.”

A further search of the vehicle revealed a hidden compartment behind the car's radio. Inside the compartment, officers recovered a 9MM SCCY handgun loaded with 10 silver jacket ball rounds and an additional magazine containing eight hollow point rounds and two brass ball rounds. 

Clark was immediately placed under arrest and was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of hollow point bullets, and a traffic violation. He was then booked and transported to the Essex County Correctional Facility where he will be lodged.