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Wanted man caught, faces drug charges in Somerset County traffic stop

BRANCHBURG TOWNSHIP, NJ (Somerset County) –  A wanted man was captured Monday morning during a traffic stop in Branchburg Township that resulted in him facing drug charges, according to Somerset County Prosecutor John P. McDonald.

On August 15, at around 11:50 a.m., a Branchburg police officer on patrol along Route 22 conducted a random license plate inquiry which resulted in showing an active National Crime Information Center (NCIC) warrant for the registered owner, who was identified as John W. Hartrum, 58, of Bridgewater Township, McDonald said.

Police then stopped the vehicle on Route 22 West approaching France Drive for a traffic violation. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Hartrum and upon receiving confirmation of the active warrant, which had been issued in Somerset County, he was removed from the vehicle and arrested without incident, McDonald said.

A search incident to arrest yielded a clear plastic bag containing suspected cocaine on Hartrum’s person. He was then transported to police headquarters, and his vehicle was secured by Branchburg police pending further investigation, McDonald said.

Hartrum was initially charged with third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and Failure to turn over a controlled dangerous substance to police. He was then lodged in the Somerset County Jail pending a detention hearing, McDonald said.

Then on Tuesday, August 16, pursuant to a Somerset County Superior Court authorized search warrant, police searched the vehicle and officers found numerous baggies containing suspected heroin along with a quantity of suspected Xanax pills, McDonald said.

Hartrum was subsequently charged with two additional counts of third-degree possession of a controlled dangerous substance, McDonald said.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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