Man Was Shooting Heroin While Driving, Police Say
George Baran, of Campbell Hall, N.Y., was arrested Saturday and charged with two counts of possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
The vigilance of an experienced police narcotics specialist paid dividends Saturday afternoon when the officer grew suspicious of a motorist driving north on Maple Avenue and pursued him to a nearby gas station.
The driver, later identified as 38-year-old George Baran, of Campbell Hall, N.Y., was found with 10 bags of heroin -- three of them empty and one partially-used -- a strip of the opioid inhibitor suboxone, a syringe and a spoon, police said.
"He was shooting up while he was driving," arresting officer Sgt. James Corcoran said. "What ends up happening is ultimately, he puts the stuff down his pants that he’s using."
Corcoran said it's not unusual for drug users to shoot up while behind the wheel immediately after scoring.
"Unfortunately, some of the crashes you have, the hit-and-runs, that’s what it’s from," he said.
Corcoran, who was on directed patrol Saturday, said Baran originally caught his attention because he was driving without wearing a seatbelt.
"I pulled out behind him and followed him up the street," Corcoran said. "He suddenly turned into the gas station located at Cedar and Maple and pulled along the pumps."
Corcoran said the move made him suspicious, so he looped around the block and watched while Baran got out of his car and proceeded to search for something under the car's front seat. Corcoran said Baran next opened up the back of the car and began fiddling around there, before finally moving to the front of the car and opening its hood.
"At that point, I had enough," Corcoran said. "I went around, pulled up next to him. He's very nervous, he’s obviously under the influence of heroin, his eyes are constricted, he has numerous track marks on two veins [in his arm]."
Upon requesting his license, registration and insurance ID card, Corcoran said Baran reached into his pocket and inadvertently dropped six baggies of heroin wrapped in a rubber band.
Further investigation turned up additional used and partially used baggies of heroin and drug paraphernaila, Corcoran said. Baran was arrested and charged with two counts of posession of a controlled dangerous substance -- one count for heroin, one count for suboxone -- possession of a hypodermic needle and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Suboxone, which Corcoran said negates the cravings and depression associated with heroin withdrawal, is used much like a nicotine patch to wean addicts off the drug.
Its presence, however, does not necessarily indicate that a heroin user is trying to quit, Corcoran said.
"Most of them will keep [suboxone] in case they can’t score for the day," he explained. "If he gets in a jam and he can't score and he starts to get dope sick, he'll keep that so he can take that and keep going until he can get the money or get down here to get the stuff."
Corcoran said Baran told him he purchased the drugs on Putnam Street in Paterson, a destination well known to the Fair Lawn police as a heroin hotbed.
Baran, who had two active warrants totaling $5,055 -- the oldest of which dated back to 2000, for a similar drug offense in Jersey City -- was remanded to Bergen County Jail in lieu of a combined $10,055 bail.