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Jury Finds Man Guilty of Selling Drugs Out of Home Near Bay Head Elementary School

Darryl Merritt (Photo: Ocean County Jail)

An Ocean County jury found a man guilty on a slew of drug-related charges stemming from an operation in which he sold cocaine and heroin out of a home located near Bay Head Elementary School.

Darryl Merritt, 30, of Neptune was found guilty of having over a half-ounce of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of over a half-ounce of cocaine with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute in a school zone, and simple possession of both drugs. He also was found guilty on an obstruction charge stemming from the events of March 20, 2017, when authorities executed a “no-knock” search warrant at the home.

His trial lasted ten days. Sentencing is set for Dec. 13 in the courtroom of Superior Court Judge Michael T. Collins.

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According to prosecutors, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force had launched an investigation into the distribution of heroin and cocaine out of a rented house near the Bay Head Elementary School in late 2016 and early 2017. On March 20, 2017, detectives from the strike force, Ocean County Regional SWAT Team and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, executed a no knock search warrant on the residence in Bay Head. During the execution of the warrant, SWAT officers saw Merritt leaving the bathroom where he had attempted to destroy eleven bricks of heroin by flushing them down the toilet. Over one half ounce of heroin and one half ounce of cocaine and paraphernalia associated with the distribution of a controlled dangerous substance were recovered from the residence.

Police from Bay Head, Brick, Toms River and Lakewood all assisted in the investigation.

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