Weekend Traffic Stop Leads To Drug Arrest

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LINDEN – Police arrested three people on drug and weapon charges following a Sunday evening traffic stop, authorities said.

At 10:33 p.m. on May 30, Officers Daniel Tristao and Vincenzo Wegrzynek stopped a 1997 Honda Accord on the 1000 block of Lincoln Street because they believed its dark-tinted windows were a motor vehicle equipment violation.

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Police discovered that the driver of the vehicle, Sakinah Howard, 20, of Linden, was wanted a contempt warrant from Metuchen and had her license suspended, authorities said. The officers placed her under arrest.

Police smelled marijuana and noticed the butt of a handgun sticking out from under the driver’s seat, so they removed the cas’s two passengers — Marquis Tucker, 22, of Linden, and Christopher Cepeda, 18, of Elizabeth — from the vehicle, authorities said.

The officers recovered a High Point 9 mm handgun loaded with seven rounds. A further search under the driver seat discovered a second handgun, a Lorcin .380 caliber handgun loaded with hollow-point ammunition, authorities said. Also seized from the vehicle was a Motrin bottle containing codeine tablets, police said. The officers placed the passengers under arrest as well.

Howard was charged with possession of a handgun (2 counts), possession of hollow-point ammo, driving with a suspended license, possession of a prescription legend drug, possession of drugs in a vehicle, improper safety glass tinting, and the Metuchen warrant. Her bail was set at $35,000, authorities said.

Tucker was charged with possession of a handgun (2 counts), possession of hollow-point ammo, and possession of a prescription legend drug, and his bail was set at $70,000, police said.

Cepeda was also found to be in possession of a zip-lock bag containing 21 small baggies of suspected marijuana, according to authorities. He was charged with possession of marijuana, distribution within 1000 feet of Public School # 5 and 500 feet of Hattie Johnson Park, possession of a handgun (2 counts), possession of hollow-point ammunition, possession of a prescription legend drug. His bail was set at $142,500.

All three suspects were taken to the Union County Jail.


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