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What to do when a suspect swallows a vial of cocaine? Wait

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: Swallowing drugs to avoid detection only means you’ll be cooling your heels until it passes, as a 33-year-old Belleville man stopped by Paramus police while barreling up Route 17 found out.

Patrolman Michael Boccher pulled over the speeding black BMW near Century Road, ran its license plate found a host of violations, Police Chief Christopher Brock said.

The driver, James L. Gettmann, smelled as if he’d been drinking, Boccher said, so he gave him a field sobriety test. Based on what he saw, Boccher arrested him for DWI.

At headquarters, Boccher and Patrolman Matt Parrello noticed Gettman stick something in his mouth as they took him out of the car.

He said “he did not swallow anything” but then began gagging and didn’t stop until he swallowed hard, Brock said.

In his wallet, the officers said, were some trace amounts of cocaine. Given the potential risk that Gettman had swallowed a potentially fatal dose, Boccher and Parrello had a dispatcher summon an ambulance to take him to Bergen Regional Medical Center.

Gettman “falsely identified himself twice before he finally gave the police his correct identity,” Brock said. A Municipal Court judge ordered him held on $7,500 pending the results of a bowel movement.

Nearly 12 hours after he was pulled over, Brock said, Gettman passed a green-stopped vial filled with rock cocaine.

Officers then took him to the Bergen County Jail on charges that include cocaine possession, hindering prosecution, driving and unregistered vehicle while on the DWI suspended list, DWI and speeding, among other counts.

As if that weren’t enough, Gettman is wanted on a host of warrants out of Franklin Lakes, River Edge, Nutley. They were sending detainers notices to the jail in case someone posts his bail.

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