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3 men charged after botched marijuana arrest turns into gunfight

An undercover New Jersey detective has been injured in an alleged drug deal that turned violent. Police say that the detective was attempting to buy marijuana from a man in a Garfield Walmart parking lot, which they thought would lead to a marijuana arrest. However, instead of the drug deal taking place, a different man allegedly tried to rob him with a gun. This man was later arrested but not before a scuffle and numerous gunshots occurred.

Authorities claim that the undercover detective had been waiting in an unmarked car for the $400 marijuana drug deal to take place. That is when a different, 25-year-old man is said to have approached the detective's car window. Police say the man pointed a gun at the detective and demanded he give him everything he had. The detective immediately grabbed for the gun, and a fight ensued. Gunshots were fired, and the detective was struck in the hip and leg.

Police say that seven backup officers who had been hiding out in a nearby vehicle responded quickly with return fire. Most of the police shots simply grazed the man, but the accused man was also hit directly in his arm and leg. Both the officer and the man with the gun were transported to the hospital to be treated for gun wounds that were characterized as non-life threatening.

Another individual, who had driven the man with the gun to the scene, was arrested by police after a car chase. The 19-year-old New Jersey man who allegedly set up the drug deal was also arrested. While he apparently evaded what undercover detectives thought would be a marijuana arrest, authorities suspect that he arranged for the robbery to take place. Police say that he and the driver of the car will probably be charged with first and second degree crimes.

The individual who allegedly tried to rob the detective, on the other hand, will likely face the most serious charges of attempted murder. However, right now the only information available is what news media outlets have reported. The accused man will have every reasonable opportunity to defend himself against the allegations. As each accused man works to safeguard individual legal rights, the burden of proof will remain with the government to prove the accusations by relevant and competent evidence that conforms with strict evidentiary requirements.

Source:, "Undercover cop, accused drug dealer wounded in Garfield shootout", Myles Ma, April 22, 2014

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