Newark drug bust nearly turns deadly

May 2, 2008 3:01:09 PM PDT
A major drug bust in Newark almost cost a police officer his life Friday.As the house was being raided by cops, one of the suspects held a gun to an officer's chest and pulled the trigger.

Miraculously, the gun jammed, saving the officer's life.

New Jersey reporter Anthony Johnson has more.

The raid took place at 5:30 a.m. Friday. Members of the emergency service unit of the Newark Police Department went into the home, and the suspect was armed, ready and apparently OK with a shootout.

Authorities say Albert Castro will be charged with attempted murder of a police officer because the drug suspect apparently pulled the trigger of his .09-mm handgun during an early-morning raid, but it did not fire.

"The first officer through the door was confronted by the target, Mr. Castro, who was armed with a handgun," Newark police deputy chief Daniel Ziesen said. "He pointed the gun at the officer's chest, and the gun misfired, or jammed, and that's what saved our officer from being shot."

Police seized more than $700,000 in cash, along with 1.25 kilos of cocaine and dozens of small packages of heroine. Cops began their investigation into the drug operation about a month ago.

"This was basically a delivery service," Ziesen said. "They would call the cell phones, and they would say OK, I need whatever weight at a certain location, and based on if they knew you or not, they would sell. But our undercovers had no problem buying from them."

Besides the drugs and cash, cops hauled in several handguns and hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen items, including GPS systems, digital cameras and bags of expensive watches. Police say they were all stolen during burglaries in Newark and in North Jersey and exchanged for drugs.

In total, police took in more than $1 million in illegal drugs and stolen items. Police say Castro was well-known in the neighborhood, and three others were also arrested, including Castro's 21-year-old daughter.