Police & Fire

Sparta Police Seize 414 Heroin Packets in Motor Vehicle Stop

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Bundles of heroin from a previous arrest Credits: Provided
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Credits: Jennifer Dericks
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SPARTA, NJ – Two Pennsylvania women were caught with more than 400 packets of heroin when their car caught the attention of police. 

“Heroin is so cheap, it’s not unusual to see 400 bags anymore,” Sparta Lt. Lamon said.

On January 29 around 1:16 p.m. Sparta Police Officer Steven Guido saw Heather James, 40, driving a blue Honda with tinted brake light lenses and an obstructed license plate, police report.

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As the officer pulled behind James he saw the back seat passenger, Erin Phillips, 31, trying to put her seatbelt on.  Guido stopped the car and spoke with the driver and two passengers.  Phillips would not make eye contact with the officer.  Guido saw that she had track marks on her hands and pinpoint pupils, signs of opiate use, police report.

Sparta Police Officer Lynott, Sgt. Schomp, Cpl Antonello and P.O. Finley all arrived to assist Guido.  Schomp told Guido he saw a small rubber band and a cut straw with white powder residue in the pocket of the driver’s side door, police say.

Guido asked James about the track marks on Phillips’ hands.  James said Phillips was a recovering heroin addict.  Guido also asked Phillips if there was anything illegal in the car.  Phillips said she did not know of anything except for "a needle or two in her purse," according to police.

Guido asked James’ if he could search the car.  She agreed.  The officer found 389 wax folds of heroin stamped with Peter Pan, Larry Bird and Game Over in a white purse found on the floor in the front seat.  There was also an hypodermic needle, several empty wax folds, a shoe lace used to tie off and several small rubber bands used to make bundles of heroin, police report.

In a blue purse found in the back seat police found 25 wax folds of heroin stamped bodak yellow, Larry Bird and Game Over, several empty wax folds, a tie-off shoe lace, several rubber bands and 12 hypodermic needles according to police.

Phillips and James both residents of Hawley, admitted the purses were theirs.  They were both arrested and taken to Sparta Police Department headquarters for processing.  The third passenger did not have any contraband and was given a ride to headquarters as well, police report.

James was charged with possession of heroin, possession of a hypodermic needle, possession of drug paraphernalia, unclear plates, unapproved equipment, failure to wear a seatbelt and possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a motor vehicle.   She was given a court date and released.

Phillips was charged with possession of heroin, possession of hypodermic needles and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Phillips also had outstanding warrants in Pennsylvania and a criminal history.  Her charges were put on warrants and she was taken to Keogh Dwyer Correctional Facility to await her court appearance and possibly be extradited to Pennsylvania.  

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