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Manslaughter charge against Mahwah man in heroin overdose

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo

NOWHERE BUT CVP: A Mahwah man originally accused of putting what turned out to be a fatal dose of heroin into the hands of a 20-year-old Rockland County man was indicted by a Bergen County grand jury this week on manslaughter charges, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.

Three weeks after Harris Apfelbaum was found dead in Park Ridge on Oct. 3, a Mahwah patrol officer stopped Uldis Mende for a traffic violation and found him carrying 70 decks of heroin intended for sale, records show.

Investigators from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office discovered that Mende, a Latvian national, helped Apfelbaum get the heroin that killed him from a dealer in Paterson, law enforcement sources told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .

The grand jury indictment secured earlier this week by Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Danielle Grootenboer accuses Mende of “causing the death” of Apfelbaum, “who died as a result of ingesting the drug.”

Mende, who turned 21 on New Year’s Day, is now being held without bail in the Bergen County Jail, due to a detainer filed by federal authorities. He’s likely to be deported once the case against him in Apfelbaum’s death is concluded.

The indictment charges him with:

  • strict liability for a drug-induced death;
  • manslaughter;
  • drug distribution and drug possession (for the Mahwah motor vehicle stop).

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