HILLSBOROUGH: Undercover investigation seizes 212 grams of cocaine

By Gene Robbins, Managing Editor
Two Hillsborough Township men were among five charged in relation to an undercover investigation that resulted in a seizure of 212 grams of cocaine with a street value of $21,200, police said.
Charged with four offenses, including distributing cocaine, was Jose Contreras, 19, of Route 206, Hillsborough.
Charged with possession of marijuana was Abimael Sanchez, 24, of Eves Drive, Hillsborough.
Mr. Contreras was one of three men charged with the first-degree offense of distributing cocaine and engaging in a conspiracy (a second-degree crime) to distribute the drug. The others were Andy Martinez-Ramos, 37, of Columbus Place, New Brunswick, and Alex Marroquin, 29, of Commercial Avenue, New Brunswick.
Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano said an undercover detective assigned to the office’s Organized Crime and Narcotics Task Force met with Mr. Contreras three times.
On July 8, the officer met him near Marshall Road in Hillsborough and bought two bags of cocaine weighing a combined one gram, according to the prosecutor.
The next day, the detective met Mr. Contreras in a Route 206 shopping plaza in Hillsborough and bought another gram of cocaine, police said.
On July 15, Mr. Contreras made arrangements for his drug supplier to meet him and the undercover detective at an Easton Avenue shopping plaza in Franklin Township.
Police were waiting. At 9 p.m. task force detectives and members of the Franklin Township police took their places. The undercover detective arrived in his own vehicle and parked near a fast-food restaurant.
Surveillance teams saw Mr. Contreras arrive in a Volkswagen Jetta driven by Mr. Sanchez, according to a release. Then, an Acura sedan driven by Mr. Martinez-Ramos, with Mr. Marroquin in the front passenger seat, arrived.
Police said Mr. Contreras got out of the Acura holding an aluminum foil package that was found to contain 150 grams of cocaine. Police said he sold it to the undercover detective.
Detectives approached and, after a brief struggle with Mr. Contreras, he was placed under arrest. Mr. Martinez-Ramos and Mr. Marroquin were removed from the Acura and placed under arrest without incident, police said.
Mr. Sanchez gave voluntary consent to search his vehicle, and police said they found two marijuana cigarettes. Mr. Sanchez was arrested without incident.
Officers from the prosecutor’s office and Franklin Township continued the investigation into cocaine distribution the next day.
An undercover detective met with Jose Lozada-Rojas, 22, of Home Street, Franklin Township, on Somerset Street, where Mr. Lozada-Rojas allegedly sold the officer a plastic bag containing 60 grams of cocaine, police said. After the transaction, police detectives approached and arrested Mr. Lozada-Rojas for distribution of cocaine, a second-degree crime.
All of the men were taken to the Somerset County Jail. Mr. Sanchez had bail set at $2,500, cash only. Mr. Lozada-Rojas had bail set at $100,000, cash only. Mr. Contreras, Mr. Marroquin and Mr. Martinez-Ramos had bail at $150,000, cash only.
Mr. Contreras was also charged with two counts of cocaine distribution in the third degree and resisting arrest, a disorderly persons offense. 