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Rochelle Park PD: Meth, Ecstasy, Loaded Gun Found In Series Of Stops

Gregory Eatman
Gregory Eatman Photo Credit: COURTESY: Rochelle Park PD

ROCHELLE PARK, N.J. -- A driver stopped by a Rochelle Park police officer before dawn Monday was carrying pot for sale, packaging materials -- and a stolen handgun, authorities said.

It was one of a series of stops by township police over three days that produced meth, Ecstasy and pot, leading to four arrests.

In one, Gregory Eatman, 37, of Paterson, "made several abrupt maneuvers" in a parking lot hotel after being spotted by Lt. Dean Pinto around 1 a.m. Monday, Sgt. James DePreta said.

Pinto approached the vehicle "and immediately noticed a strong odor of unburnt marijuana," prompting a call for backup, he said.

A search turned up 29 small bags of marijuana, $1,800 in rubber-banded hundred-dollar bills, a digital scale, several hundred empty baggies and the 9mm Highpoint pistol loaded with hollow-nosed bullets, DePreta said.

A computer check also turned up warrants -- and the fact that the gun had been reported stolen out of Pennsylvania, he said.

Eatman was sent to the Bergen County Jail pending a detention hearing on drug, weapons and money laundering charges.

The other arrests:

The driver -- 30-year-old Joshua Mandala of Mount Laurel, NJ -- "exhibited pin point pupils and was sweating profusely despite the 40-degree temperatures," DePreta said.

A computer check turned up two warrants out of Trenton, the sergeant said. Mandala was sent to the Bergen County Jail pending a detention hearing.

A little over two hours later, Officer Jared Shatkin stopped a 2004 Cadillac after it swerved across several lanes on northbound Route 17.

In plain view were "several open containers of alcohol" and a joint, DePreta said. A search of the vehicle turned up marijuana and three tabs of Ecstasy, he said.

Karriem Hodges, 39, Paterson, was released pending a hearing on drug charges.

Police Chief Robert Flannelly commended his officers for "their proactive police work -- and, most importantly, for removing another illegal and potentially deadly weapon from the streets."

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