A surveillance operation at the border of Paterson and Woodland Park led to the arrest of two men on drug charges and the seizure of powder cocaine, a semi-automatic handgun, and almost 7,000 cash on Monday evening, according to Passaic County Sheriff Richard Berdnik.
Paterson residents Wilking Casado, 23, and Zeljko Bera, 50, were arrested on drug offenses, authorities said.
Casado was allegedly dealing drugs out of a Hugo Street apartment, authorities said. Detectives working based on information that he was meeting buyers using a silver 2005 Acura in the surrounding area setup surveillance at around 6 p.m.
Detectives followed Casado as he got out of the rear apartment of 155 Hugo Street and drove to McBride Avenue and Dayton Street.
Casado met with Bera, a passenger in white Ford Explorer. Money was exchanged for small items suspected to be drugs.
Authorities pulled over the Ford and recovered 2 zip-lock baggies of cocaine from Bera. Casado was arrested as he returned to his apartment. $426 in cash was seized from his person. A search of his apartment yielded 45 grams of powder cocaine worth $2,250 on the street, $6,512 in cash, a loaded 9mm Hi-Point semi-automatic handgun, and drug paraphernalia, Berdnik said.
Bera was charged with cocaine possession and released pending a court appearance. Casado was charged with drug offenses and possession of a handgun.
Casado was transported to Paterson police lockup. Casado’s 2005 Acura was towed and pending forfeiture.