FREEHOLD – Two men were convicted Tuesday of drug offenses following a two-week trial related to the 2014 seizure of 367 packets of heroin, and 16 bags of crack cocaine, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.
Timothy Bethea, 41, of Tinton Falls, and Aldaberto Vega, 35, of Eatontown, were each convicted of third degree Possession of CDS, third degree Possession with Intent to Distribute and third degree Possession with Intent to Distribute in a School Zone. Due to their prior records, each man faces a potential sentence of 10 years in prison with 5 years parole ineligibility when they return for sentencing before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard W. English on July 21, 2017.
The charges stem from a June 13, 2014 incident, when the Neptune Township Police Department Street Crimes Unit arrived at the Days Inn on Route 33 to investigate drug activity and found Bethea and Vega inside a vehicle parked outside the motel. An investigation found seven bricks (360 bags) of heroin inside the vehicle. A thorough search of the vehicle and Bethea uncovered additional heroin, sixteen (16) bags of crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia and other items.
At trial it was revealed, police officers approached the vehicle which was parked in the lot of the Days Inn. As officers approached the vehicle, Bethea was observed in the driver’s seat moving a sweatshirt off of his lap toward the back seat of the car. When asked why they were there, Bethea confirmed they did not have a room but were just “chillin.” The officers asked both men step out of the car to speak with them separately. As Bethea got out of the car he pushed the remaining portion of the sweatshirt into the backseat. An officer asked Bethea again why they were there and he claimed he had just dropped off a friend, whose name he did not know and who went to an unknown room in an unknown direction.
Another officer spoke with the Vega who provided him with a false name. It was later learned Vega had active bench warrants for his arrest.
While they were speaking outside of the vehicle it began to rain. Bethea asked the officer if he could get his sweatshirt from the car to cover himself. The officer advised him he could have the sweatshirt but he had to pat it down first. Bethea became angry and tried to get the sweatshirt himself. The officer retrieved the sweatshirt which contained the seven bricks of heroin.
The case was prosecuted by Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Emily Cartmell.
Bethea is represented by Kelly Anderson Smith, Esq., of Hamilton and Vega was represented by David Donnelly, Esq., of Little Silver.
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