Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced today that Darryl Merritt, 30, of Neptune was found guilty of Possession of Over a Half-Ounce of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3); Possession of Over One Half Ounce of Cocaine with the Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C: 35-5b(2); Possession of Heroin in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C: 35-10a(1); Possession of Cocaine in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1); Possession with the Intent to Distribute Heroin in a School Zone in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7a; Possession with the Intent to Distribute Cocaine in a School Zone in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-7a; and Obstructing the Administration of Law in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1, following a ten day jury trial before the Honorable Michael T. Collins, J.S.C. The trial concluded on Friday, October 4, 2019. Merritt is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Collins on December 13, 2019. He is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending sentencing.
The guilty verdict arises from an investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force 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 Ocean County Narcotics 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 observed 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.
Prosecutor Billhimer would like to acknowledge the fine work of Assistant Prosecutor Stephen Burke and Supervising Assistant Prosecutor William Porter who handled the case for the State. Prosecutor Billhimer also extends his gratitude to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Narcotics Strike Force, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Squad, Ocean County Regional SWAT Team, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Ocean County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit, Bay Head Police Department, Toms River Township Police Department, Brick Township Police Department and the Lakewood Township Police Department for their collaborative efforts in bringing Merritt to justice.