Police officers arrested two men and seized 5.4 pounds of marijuana on Wednesday morning thwarting a drug operation that used UPS as a delivery system for narcotics.
Claude Shepherd, 23, of Englewood, and Kevin Hild, 24, of Andover were waiting inside of a blue BMW parked outside of 551 11th Avenue for the UPS delivery man while detectives, acting on a confidential lead, were watching them.
Detectives Sal Macolino and James Miyasato also saw a brown Honda parked in front of the home partially blocking the driveway. Both cars were registered to the same address in Englewood. Detectives had an unobstructed view of both cars in front of the home.
Shepherd got out of his car and went to the steps of the home. Within five minutes, detectives observed a UPS truck traveling towards 551 11th Avenue. The truck parked in front of the Honda and the deliveryman got out of his vehicle, went to the back of the truck, grabbed a package, and walked with it towards the steps to the home.
The UPS driver placed the box at Shepherd’s feet and had him sign for the package at about 10:10 a.m. As he began walking back to the BMW with the package, detectives Ryan Curving and Saleh Judeh approached. Shepherd was asked if the package contained marijuana, he responded in the affirmative.
Police searched the package and the two vehicles, both belonged to him. The box contained a plastic container with a black lid covered with a foam insulation mask to hide the marijuana smell.
Detectives could see vacuum-sealed packages inside the container. Police found 5 heat-sealed individual bags inside the container that weighed 5.4 pounds. Each individual bag had a single vacuum-sealed package containing two additional Shield Seal packages.
Police tested the suspected marijuana which came back positive for THC, active ingredient in marijuana. The packages will be sent to New Jersey State Police lab for further analysis, said police.
Officer James DiPiazza and his K9 Barry smelled drugs inside the BMW. The dog indicated there was narcotic on the driver side door panel of the BMW — $4,266 was found wrapped in a Wallington Municipal Court ticket. Police also seized $2,560 from Shepherd as drug money.
A search of the Honda did not yield any contraband, said police. Both vehicles were towed to Classic Towing yard.
Shepherd and Hild were charged with marijuana possession, intent to deal, and intent to distribute close to School 26. An alert city resident sent a confidential tip to detective Marvin Sykes that led to the surveillance of the location and the ultimate arrest of the two men.
Speziale praised the officers for their ability to take the information and quickly size up the situation. He credited the community for assisting in getting rid of two alleged drug dealers off city streets.