Two men arrested with more than 5,200 bags of heroin have been ordered held pending trial.
Michael Stewart, 58, was driving in Atlantic City, when police pulled him over and allegedly found seven bricks of heroin — or 350 individual bags. His passenger, 46-year-old Peter Whitted, had 550 bags on him, according to the charges.
Inside the car, police found 87 more bricks. That’s 4,350 bags, for a total of 5,250 bags.
Stewart has a drug history that spans decades, Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen Robinson told the judge. Dating to 1989, when a cocaine-dealing case lost him his job as an Atlantic City police officer, and got him convicted of official misconduct.
Despite that, the recommendation from Stewart’s public safety assessment recommended he be released on condition of monthly reports to court. The PSA is part of the new bail reform.
Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Waldman disagreed with that assessment, ordering Stewart held pending trial.
Stewart then addressed the court, telling the judge he knew what was going on but was not that involved in the crime, and asking for leniency due to a newly found medical condition.
Stewart has spent most of his recent incarceration hospitalized, public defender Holly Bitters said. He has a heart issue and they are looking to do a catheterization.
Waldman said he may reconsider his decision if there is medical documentation that he would be better off with outside help, but until then Stewart will stay jailed.
Waldman also ordered Whitted held.
Whitted already was on pretrial release for a pending drug case when he was arrested with Stewart, Robinson said.
His PSA did not recommend release.
Defense attorney Matthew Leonard argued that the drugs Whitted had on him could be for use, not dealing.
“He has maintained he is a drug user, not a drug dealer,” Leonard said.