Obstruction of justice
On Oct. 26 at approximately 10:30 p.m., Sparta police officer Michael Poon observed a white Toyota Corolla travelling north on Route 15 with no front plate. Upon stopping and approaching the vehicle, he observed two occupants within. Officer Poon requested the driver’s credentials and the driver, who identified himself as Jose Gonzales, 28, of Paterson, N.J., stated that he never had a driver’s license. Officer Poon smelled raw marijuana and asked if there was marijuana in the vehicle. The passenger, Amelia Valentin, 29, of Lodi, N.J., stated that she had a ziplock bag of marijuana in the center console. A search of the vehicle turned up marijuana, drug paraphernalia and oxycodone pills. Gonzales took ownership of the pills. Valentin and Gonzales were placed under arrest and transported to Sparta Police headquarters to be processed. During processing, it was discovered that Gonzales was actually 29-year-old Daniel Wendt of Boonton, N.J. Wendt was charged with Obstruction, Possession of Narcotic Pills, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Suspended Driver, Unlicensed Driver, View Obstruction, Fictitious Plates, Unregistered Vehicle, Uninsured Vehicle, and Controlled Dangerous Substance in a Motor Vehicle. Due to a lengthy criminal history and risk assessment, he was lodged in the Morris County Jail to await his appearance before the court. Valentin was charged with Obstruction, Possession of Marijuana and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, advised of her mandatory court appearance, and released.
Speeding vehicle stolen from Dover
On Oct. 25 at approximately 12:20 a.m., Sparta police officer Chris Botta stopped a black Honda Fit travelling north on Route 15 for speeding, 78 in a 55 mph zone. As Officer Botta pulled the vehicle over, he observed the occupants moving around within the vehicle. As he approached, he observed all three occupants sitting in the rear seat with no one in the driver’s seat. Based on Officer Botta’s observations and a review of his in-car camera, it was determined that Christopher Gorgas, 18, of Dover, N.J., had been the operator of the vehicle. A check on the registration of the vehicle came back to a resident of Dover. After contacting Dover and Rockaway Police, who contacted the owner of the vehicle, it was learned that the vehicle had been stolen from in front of a residence in Rockaway. Gorgas and his passengers, Alexis Holtman, 18, of Hamburg and a 17-year-old juvenile from East Orange, N.J., were placed under arrest for receiving stolen property and transported to Sparta Police headquarters for processing. During processing, it was learned that Gorgas and the 17-year-old had fled from a group home in Paterson, N.J., a week earlier. The Paterson Police Department responded to the Sparta Police to transport the juvenile back to the group home. Gorgas was charged with Receiving Stolen Property, Hindering Prosecution, Speeding, Careless Driving, Suspended License, Unlicensed and Failure to Wear a Seatbelt. Holtman was charged with Receiving Stolen Property and Hindering Prosecution. Both were advised of a mandatory court appearance and remanded to the Morris County Correctional Facility to await their court appearances.