According to Guttenberg Police Lt. Joel Magenheimer, detectives arrested three men last week on a variety of drug charges after a lengthy investigation involving undercover drug purchases.
"House of Cuts" was in business in the second floor of 6907 Bergenline Ave. for only two months, operating in the location previously known as "A Kut Above The Rest," where a major drug bust took place last August. Police were drawn to the previous location because of numerous loiterers and alleged gang activity. Magenheimer said that more of the same was taking place at the same location under the new ownership. "We decided to do an investigation," Magenheimer said. "We'd received complaints once again about loitering outside the building and the type of activity that had been going on there."
Undercover at the salon
So Magenheimer sent some undercover detectives to the salon to get haircuts.
"While they were able to get haircuts, they were able to purchase drugs as well," Magenheimer said. According to Magenheimer, the detectives were able to purchase marijuana at the location several times. "The detectives made several buys, then we made the arrests," Magenheimer said.
Arrested were the business owner, Walter Martinez, 29, a Guttenberg resident, along with two men identified as being barbers at the location, namely Orlando Blue, 20, of North Bergen, and Pedro Jimenez, 24, of Fairview. Martinez was charged with conspiracy and for maintaining a nuisance. Jimenez was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, namely marijuana, along with possession with the intent to distribute, possession within 1,000 feet of a school, and conspiracy.
Blue was charged with the same drug offenses, as well as allegedly using paging devices for the distribution of a controlled substance, as well as for having open warrants against him in several municipalities, including North Bergen, on a variety of charges.
A fourth man was also brought into custody, but it was determined that he was not a United States citizen. He has since been turned over to the United States Department of Immigration and Naturalized Services for deportation proceedings.
All three arrested men were transported to Hudson County Jail in Kearny and held in lieu of $5,000 bail. They all posted the bail and were released.
The "House of Cuts" was closed by law enforcement personnel for one day.
Because there was no other pending charge against the new business, the salon was back in business a day later. "We had nothing to keep them closed," Magenheimer said.
Magenheimer said that there was no correlation between the previous owner and the new owner.
"It was just a coincidence that the two incidents took place there," Magenheimer said. "Maybe some of the same gang members still go there. We know some of the players there and have been closely monitoring the activity." Magenheimer said that the Guttenberg police will continue to investigate the business and its clientele.
Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either OGSMAR@aol.com or email@example.com