Salem City Drug Sweep Yields 6 Arrests, Confiscation of Cash, Car, Narcotics

Six people have been arrested and drugs, cash and a car seized after a two-month investigation into narcotics sales in Salem City, authorities say.

Salem County Prosecutor John T. Lenahan and Salem Chief of Police John Pelura III announced the arrests which began Feb. 7 and ended on Monday. They were the result of a joint effort between the two agencies and several others.

“This initiative demonstrates the success that can be achieved through coordinated law enforcement efforts to reduce narcotics distribution and other quality of life offenses in Salem County,” Lenahan said.

Detectives seized cocaine, heroin, marijuana and prescription drugs. They also confiscated $7,000 in suspected drug money and a vehicle.

The sweep began Feb. 15 at 294 East Broadway where Kassem Nichols, 25, was arrested and charged four counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance with the intent to distribute, two counts of tampering with physical evidence, possession of prescription pills not in the proper container and possession of drug paraphernalia, authorities said.

Pre-packaged cocaine, heroin, marijuana, oxcodone pills and drug distribution paraphernalia was seized from Nichols’ home.

Nichols had outstanding warrants from Deptford Township, Logan Township and Salem City municipal courts. He was taken to the Salem County Correctional Facility, Mannington Township, and held on those warrants.

On March 1, officers executed a search warrant on a vehicle parked in front of 22 Union St. in which David Jackson, 38, of East Broadway was sitting inside. During a search of the car, authorities said they found 126 bags of cocaine and a large amount of cash.

Jackson was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a quantity of greater than one half ounce with the intent to distribute and possession of a controlled dangerous substance with the intent to distribute while within 1,000 feet of school property, authorities said.

Jackson was jailed pending a detention hearing.

The next arrest in the sweep came March 2 when detectives executed a search warrant at 33 Linden St. and arrested Phillip Saunders, 42, after he was allegedly found in possession of 72 bags of heroin, authorities said. Saunders was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance and possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a quantity of less than one-half ounce with the intent to distribute.

On March 7, a search warrant was executed at 202 Church St. where officers recovered approximately two pounds of marijuana, drug distribution paraphernalia and a large amount of currency. There, Jacane Allen, 37, was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a quantity greater than 10 ounces with the intent to distribute and possession of a controlled dangerous substance with the intent to distribute while within 1,000 feet of school property, authorities said.

The next arrest on the sweep was on March 17 when David Santiago was arrested at 56 Westside Court.  During a search of the apartment, officers located approximately four grams of cocaine along with quantities of phencyclidine, promethazine and cash, authorities said, along with drug distribution paraphernalia.

Santiago was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a quantity of less than one-half ounce with the intent to distribute, possession of a controlled dangerous substance with the intent to distribute while within 500 feet of public housing property and possession of drug paraphernalia, authorities said.

The final arrest in the sweep came on Monday when detectives seized 95 bags of cocaine after a search warrant was executed at 42 Ward St. where Leon Morris, 41, was arrested. He was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession of a controlled dangerous substance in a quantity of less than one-half ounce and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to authorities.

Saunders, Allen, Santiago and Morris were all released following their arrests pending court after being charged.

The New Jersey State Police Troop A TEAMS Unit,  New Jersey State Police Troop A Canine Unit, Salem County Sheriff’s Office and the Carneys Point Police Department assisted the prosecutor’s office and Salem Police Department during the course of the initiative.

“I appreciate the prosecutor’s office leading this operation to curb the drug distribution in Salem which is eroding our quality of life,” Pelura said.