Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino announced the arrests of two individuals in West Caldwell on narcotics charges. On Friday, March 26, 2010, detectives from the Prosecutor’s narcotics and gang task force, known as the VIPER Unit, arrested Joshua Soldano, 29, and Brian Leaman, 29, both of Ramsey, NJ.
The investigation began when detectives from the VIPER Unit developed information that Soldano was allegedly distributing anabolic steroids, a controlled dangerous substance, in West Caldwell, where he worked as an athletic trainer at a local fitness center. It is alleged that during the course of the investigation, Soldano distributed steroids and hypodermic syringes to an undercover detective from the VIPER Unit.
When detectives arrested Soldano in West Caldwell, it is alleged he was in the process of distributing heroin to Leaman. Detectives placed both men under arrest. A subsequent search of Soldano’s vehicle allegedly resulted in the seizure of approximately 40 packages of heroin, 18 grams of cocaine and 8 bottles of anabolic steroids. It is also alleged that Soldano had 29 hypodermic syringes in his possession. Detectives seized $1,661 in cash and $380 in counterfeit bills from Soldano.
According to Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas S. Fennelly, director of the VIPER Unit, Soldano is charged with third degree distribution of a controlled dangerous substance to an undercover police officer, possession of anabolic steroids, possession of steroids with the intent to distribute, distribution of heroin, possession of heroin, possession of heroin with the intent to distribute, possession of cocaine, possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute, possession of hypodermic syringes and possession of narcotics paraphernalia. Soldano was also charged with possession of controlled dangerous substances with the intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school and 500 feet of public property or park. Leaman was charged with possession of heroin.
Bail for Soldano was set at $100,000 by the Honorable Thomas P. Zampino, J.S.C. Soldano is being held at the Essex County Correctional Facility. Leaman was released on his own recognizance. The matter will be referred to the Grand Jury.
The street value of the narcotics seized exceeds $5,000. Det. Nichelle L. Cromer of the VIPER Unit was the primary case agent. The Prosecutor’s Office was assisted by the Essex County Sheriff’s Office and the West Caldwell Police Department during the investigation and arrests. The investigation is continuing at this time.
The charges against defendants are merely accusations. Both defendants are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.