72-Year-Old Suspect Nabbed In Paterson Drug Bust, Detectives Find 2,700 Bags Worth Of Heroin

What began as a couple of routine daylight drug busts led Paterson detectives to enough raw heroin to fill more than 2,700 bags, as well as the arrest of a 72-year-old accused buyer.

34 Oak Street, Paterson
34 Oak Street, Paterson Photo Credit: GoogleMaps / INSET: Paterson PD

It was around 11:30 a.m. when detectives saw Michael T. James, 50, emerge from a home on Oak Street, sell some drugs to a buyer, then head back inside, Public Safety Director Jerry Speziale said.

An arrest team quickly grabbed Calvin L. Wallace, 47, of Broadway near the corner of nearby Summer and Morton streets, Speziale said. He was carrying 62 heroin folds and seven small bags of crack, the director said.

James again came outside a little over an hour later, walked to Summer Street and made another deal before returning home, Speziale said.

The buyer -- identified as Kevin G. Thomas, 54, of Madison Street -- got into a car that then drove off, he said.

In the car with Thomas was 72-year-old Clarence Durham of Haledon, Speziale said.

Police charged both men with drug possession after finding them with eight bags of crack, the director said. Thomas was also carrying a stun gun, for which he was also charged, Speziale said.

At that point, the detectives obtained a search warrant and raided the Oak Street house.

They found 2.8 ounces of raw heroin, which Speziale said was "equivalent to approximately 54 bricks," while seizing $1,242 in alleged proceeds. (A brick equals 50 bags of heroin.)

James was charged with several drug possession and distribution counts and sent to the Passaic County Jail to await a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Paterson.

The others were released pending court hearings.

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