Two Forked River residents were arrested during an ongoing narcotics distribution investigation that continues in an effort to probe suspected heroin overdose deaths, police said.
Police executed two simultaneous search warrants during the investigation on Thursday arresting Kenneth Staunton, 32, and Linda Rao, 24.
One warrant was conducted on a vehicle driven by Rao, finding drug paraphernalia consistent with heroin and crack-cocaine use, police said.
A second warrant was executed at a Lee Way, Forked River home, finding additional drug paraphernalia, police said. Staunton, the target of the investigation, was arrested in Lanoka Harbor while he allegedly attempted to avoid police by hiding in the rear of a van.
During Stauton’s arrest, police found 191 bags containing heroin and a hypodermic syringe, police said.
Staunton was charged with heroin possession and intent to distribute heroin. He was sent to Ocean County Jail in lieu of his $60,000 cash bail.
Rao was released on her own recognizance pending a court appearance.
Entry into the Lee Way home was made by Ocean County SWAT.
Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and the Ocean County Criminalistic Unit as well as a K-0 from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department assisted with the investigation.