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Passaic Sheriff's Bust: Nearly 5 Pounds Of Coke, 3 Guns, Five Arrests

(l. to r.): David Caraballo, Thomas Martinez, Vander Manocchio, Ricardo Jackson, Miguel Martinez
(l. to r.): David Caraballo, Thomas Martinez, Vander Manocchio, Ricardo Jackson, Miguel Martinez Photo Credit: MUGSHOTS: Courtesy PASSAIC COUNTY SHERIFF

PATERSON, N.J. – Passaic County sheriff’s detectives watched a major drug deal go down, then seized nearly five pounds of cocaine, three guns, four vehicles and about $35,000 in proceeds while arresting five men, authorities said.

The detectives watched as passenger Vander Manocchio, 25, of Paterson, got out of a blue Jeep Cherokee that had just parked in front of a large detached garage off McBride Avenue shortly before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik said.

David Caraballo, 34, of Woodland Park opened the garage door and came out holding a black bag that he handed to Manocchio in exchange for a large amount of cash, Berdnik said.

After Caraballo went back inside, Manocchio got back into the departing Jeep, which was followed by detectives, the sheriff said.

The detectives stopped the vehicle at the intersection of Main and Ellis streets and discovered a .38-caliber revolver, as well as more than a pound of raw cocaine inside the bag, he said.

Manocchio and the driver, 32-year-old Ricardo Jackson of Factoryville were arrested. Detectives seized $1,709 that Berdnik said Jackson was carrying.

They then turned their attention back to the garage.

Caraballo eventually came out again holding a black backpack, accompanied by Thomas Martinez, 44, of Little Falls, the sheriff said.

Caraballo put the bag inside the trunk of a BMW, then hopped into the passenger seat.

Martinez got behind the wheel and the pair sped off toward McBride Avenue, Berdnik said.

Detectives eventually stopped the Beamer at Browertown Road in Woodland Park and arrested Caraballo, who was carrying $10,000, and Martinez, who had $870, the sheriff said.

A K9 was summoned and responded positively for drugs, after which the BMW was towed for further investigation, he said.

Inside the car detectives later found more than three pounds of cocaine, Berdnik said.

A search of the McBride Avenue garage turned up a small amount of cocaine, 50 Percocet pills, and .22-caliber revolver, he added.

Detectives also searched a Dodge Charger and found a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun and $22,130 in cash, the sheriff said.

All four men were charged with various drug and weapons offenses and sent to the Passaic County Jail – as was a fifth defendant charged in connection with the case: Miguel Martinez, 32, of Paterson.

In addition to the drugs, cash, guns and vehicles, detectives seized $82,000 in jewelry and 20 illegal hollow-point bullets, Berdnik said.

The total value of the drugs was about $100,000, he noted.

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