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EHT 'open mic night' ends with drugs, guns and five arrests

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There was a lot more going on than music and laughs at an open mic night in Egg Harbor Township, police say.

The Atlantic County SWAT team made a surprise appearance as members executed a search warrant at a warehouse in the township's Farmington section.

Five people were arrested and three handguns seized, along with pounds of cannabis and psilocybin mushrooms, Capt. Cherie Burgan said.

Two of the guns had extended magazines and one was reported stolen out of North Carolina, according to the report.

About 43 pounds of illicit marijuana and cannabis products and more than 14 pounds of psilocybin or magic mushrooms.

All products were packaged and labeled for distribution, inside a warehouse that had been set up as an illegal party venue that included a cover charge, live DJ, music entertainment and alcoholic beverages for sale, Burgan said.

The five arrested were Michael Garofalo Jr, 20, of Jackson, Ocean County; Daegan Leithmann, and Jonathan Vega, both 21 from Egg Harbor City; Brandon Moore, 22, also of Jackson, and Melissa Martella, 30, of Egg Harbor Township.

They all were charged with conspiracy, possession and distribution of controlled dangerous substances. They are in the Atlantic County Justice Facility pending court.

"Substance abuse and proliferation of illegal firearms continue to pose significant threats in our society," the release said. "The Egg Harbor Township Police Department remains steadfast in its mission to combat these dangers, working closely with stakeholders and lawmakers to create a safer environment for all. We urge everyone to join us in this fight by being vigilant, informing authorities about suspicious activities, and practicing responsible gun ownership."

"We will continue to collaborate with local partners and actively support initiatives aimed at reducing drug trafficking and illegal firearms in our jurisdiction," the statement continued. "We extend our sincerest gratitude to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office as well for their unwavering support and partnership."


Lynda Cohen

Lynda Cohen founded BreakingAC after working as a local newspaper reporter for more than two decades. She is an NJPA award-winner and was a Stories of Atlantic City fellow.

Monday, April 15, 2024
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