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South Passaic Daily Voice serves Clifton, Haledon, Hawthorne, Little Falls, North Haledon, Passaic, Paterson, Prospect Park, Totowa, Wayne & Woodland Park

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Passaic Sheriff: Clifton Drug Dealer Had 21 Guns, Drugs, $15K Cash

The haul (inset: Oscar Torres).
The haul (inset: Oscar Torres). Photo Credit: IMAGES: Courtesy PASSAIC COUNTY SHERIFF

CLIFTON, N.J. -- Passaic County Sheriff's officers teamed up with local DEA agents and Clifton police to seize 21 guns, 168 boxes of ammo, various amounts of cocaine, Oxycodone and Ecstasy and nearly $15,000 in cash Tuesday night from a city man who they said was dealing drugs from his home.

A judge ordered Oscar Torres, 56, held on $200,000 on more than 20 assorted drug and weapons charges.

Both agencies already had information on Torres when Berdnik said his detectives contacted Clifton police after getting a tip.

A strike force that included DEA agents began watching Torres's Florence Drive house around 11 p.m. Tuesday, he said.

They followed his SUV after he left and later saw Torres sell a North Haledon man -- identified as 44-year-old Barry Checinski -- two ounces of cocaine, Berdnik said.

Detectives followed Checinski out of the area, stopped his car and arrested him, he said.

"A neighborhood drug dealer has the potential to hurt the fiber of any community," Clifton Police Chief Mark Centurione said.

They then went after Torres, who the sheriff said had another two grams of cocaine in his 2016 Toyota Highlander.

They arrested him and obtained a search warrant for his home, Berdnik said.

The haul included more than five ounces of cocaine, over 500 pills of oxycodone and hydrocodone, 32 MDMA pills and 16 Mollys in pill form -- with a combined street value of nearly $20,000 -- in addition to the cash, Berdnik said.

Authorities also seized:

7 handguns (Taurus .357, Beretta 9mm, Ruger Super Red Hawk .44 mag, among others);

14 long guns -- including two AR-15’s and an AK-47;

168) boxes of various-caliber ammunition.

Berdnik said his detectives charged Torres with 14 drug offenses alone.

Torres, who the sheriff said had a valid NJ firearms ID card for the long guns, was hit with five counts of failing to failing to obtain permits for the handguns. He also was charged with weapons possession during a drug crime.

Authorities also seized Torres's SUV for forfeiture, the sheriff said.

An investigation was continuing and additional charges were possible, he said.

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