MAHWAH, New Jersey – Youngsters were romping in an elementary school playground in Mahwah when a Rockland County driver pulled up with 100 bags of heroin sewn into a hidden pants pocket, authorities said Friday.
Detective Sgt. Kevin Hebert and Detective Eric Larsen spotted the car with New York license plates and quickly moved in.
The detectives were part of increased patrols at and around the Betsy Ross Elementary School, in the Cragmore section of town, following complaints of suspicious vehicles, Police Chief James N. Batelli said.
Stephen E. Schlaugies, 20, of Ramapo told the detectives he’d come to fly drones and meet a friend – on what Batelli said was school property at the K-3 school on Malcolm Road.
He “appeared to be extremely nervous,” the chief said, adding that his men smelled the odor of marijuana from inside the car.
They searched Schlaugies and found him with the two bricks of heroin in a “hidden, sewn-in pocket in his groin area,” Batelli said.
They also found a high-concentrate THC known as DAB, along with drug paraphernalia, in the car, he said.
Schlaugies was charged with various drug offenses and issued traffic summonses before being released pending a July 14 hearing in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack.
Batelli, meanwhile, praised Hebert and Larsen “for their initiative and alertness in observing the vehicle pull into the Betsy Ross lot and conduct a further investigation.”
“Mahwah has a very proactive narcotic interdiction program and these arrests demonstrate its effectiveness,” the chief said. “But more importantly, it shows the depth of the heroin problem in this area.”
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