A raid on a reported gambling and drinking gathering resulted in the arrest of a city man on a long list of charges including possession of a handgun and hollow-nose bullets, police said.
The suspect reported to have been found with the gun, Artaj Northrop, 19, also allegedly attempted to eat marijuana and urinated inside the city police station, authorities said.
According to Salem City Police Chief John Pelura III, officers were called to the parking lot of the Salem Motor Lodge on East Broadway at 7:17 p.m. Tuesday to investigate a report of people loitering, gambling and drinking on the property.
Pelura said Salem officers found four males — Northrop, Jabar T. Pratt, 18, Jaquille Cooke, 18, and a juvenile, 17 — together by the front exterior stairway at the motel “actively engaged in a dice game.” The chief said money was observed sitting on the pavement and the dice were being thrown against a wall at the motel in the direction of the money.
When the four saw Salem police patrol cars enter the parking lot, Pratt allegedly grabbed the dice and money up off the pavement, Pelura said. Northrop, Pratt, Cooke and the juvenile then attempted to walk away but were stopped by the officers.
Northrop then attempted to run, Pelura said, but an officer cut him off and he had to be wrestled to the ground. As he was lying face down with his right hand under his stomach, a gun was observed in Northrop’s waistband, Pelura said.
Northrop continued to struggle with the officers and refused to release his hand from under his body, he added.
Once Northrop was handcuffed, a nine-shot revolver loaded with nine hollow point bullets was removed from his waist band.
The juvenile was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct (public gambling) and possession of marijuana and then released in his father’s custody, Pelura said.
Pratt and Cooke were charged with a violating a city law on public gambling and released from the scene.
Once back at police headquarters Northrop was more thoroughly searched and found to be in possession of 22 packets of suspected heroin, Pelura said. He also allegedly attempted to eat two packets of marijuana and then urinated on the floor at the police station, the chief said.
Northrop was charged with violating a city law on public gambling, possession of marijuana under 50 grams, hindering, disorderly conduct (public gambling), disorderly conduct (urinating on the floor and cuff bench of the police station), possession of a weapon, unlawful possession of a weapon, possession of hollow point bullets, possession of a firearm while engaged in distributing narcotics, distribution of a controlled dangerous substance (heroin), possession of a controlled dangerous substance (heroin), distribution of a controlled dangerous substance (heroin) in a public housing zone, resisting arrest and destruction of evidence.
Northrop is being held in the Salem County Correctional Facility, Mannington Township, on $150,000 full cash bail on all the charges.
At the time of his arrest, Northrop was out on bail for a previous possession of a weapon charge from an arrest in September 2013, police said.
“I commend my officers for the way they brought a violent situation initiated by a 19-year-old man to a successful end where no one was seriously injured,” Pelura said.
“Wrestling with an armed man in the prime of his life with a loaded gun could have ended with tragic results. It is my hope that, after two gun arrests in less than one year, this young man learns from his mistakes and changes his ways,” the chief said.