East Orange man arrested, police seize $25,500 worth of heroin in Mercer County

Mercer County Prosecutor Angelo J. Onofri says a month-long investigation into narcotics distribution in the Mercer County area has culminated with one arrest and the seizure of $25,500 in heroin.

On Thursday, January 26, 2023, members of the Mercer County Narcotics Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Robbinsville Township Police Department initiated surveillance in a warehouse parking lot on New Cayton Way in Robbinsville based on information received during the investigation.

Melvin Leonard

At approximately 6:40 p.m., officers observed the target of the investigation, Melvin Leonard, in the driver’s seat of a black Nissan Altima.

He was detained without incident. Sgt. Tom Paglione utilized his K-9 partner, Indy, to conduct an exterior sniff of the vehicle, which resulted in the dog alerting the officer to the scent of narcotics on the passenger side door.

A search warrant was executed and, inside the Altima, officers located a reusable shopping bag with a shoe box inside containing approximately 150 bricks of heroin.

Leonard, 34, of East Orange, NJ, was charged with multiple narcotics offenses.

The prosecutor’s office has filed a motion to detain him pending trial.

According to Onofri, the street value of the confiscated heroin is approximately $25,500.

Despite having been charged, all persons are presumed innocent until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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