His gun at his side, a helmet pulled low over his head, Police Officer Carlos Orbe wrestled a drug suspect to the floor of a darkened apartment in this city’s East Ward on Friday morning and felt something being driven into his stomach repeatedly.
“I thought he was punching me,” said Officer Orbe, a member of the department’s emergency response team. “Then, I looked down and I saw he had a gun and he was pulling the trigger.”
The weapon had jammed. After a few moments that Officer Orbe said felt like an eternity, another officer helped pull the suspect away from him, and the Newark police had made what the authorities said was one of the largest drug seizures here in memory.
In a series of early-morning raids, the Newark police arrested five people and seized drugs with an estimated value of $500,000, plus cash and goods they say they believe are stolen. The police called it a major cocaine-and-heroin delivery operation and fencing ring in the city’s Ironbound section.