Off duty police officer has key role in Smyrna heroin arrests

Smyrna Police made three arrests after an alleged drug deal on Sept. 10 in the Glenwood Plaza shopping center parking. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

Smyrna Police made three arrests after an alleged drug deal on Sept. 10 in the Glenwood Plaza shopping center parking. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

SMYRNA — Sworn to an oath, an off duty Smyrna Police officer spotted an alleged heroin transaction and quickly sprang into action earlier this month.

According to authorities, the officer immediately called colleagues to report his suspicions at the Glenwood Plaza shopping center on Sept. 10, which eventually produced three arrests and the discovery of 413 bags of heroin, which police described as a “larger than usual seizure.”

Though he wasn’t officially working, police said the officer was still doing his job.

“Off-duty officers are expected to report crimes they witness off-duty no matter where they are,” Smyrna Police spokesman Cpl. Brian Donner said.

“When our officers take an oath to protect and uphold the law they know that it is a 24/7 commitment. Many of our officers live, work, shop and recreate in this community so it is not uncommon at all for them to report crimes to SPD.”

The alleged incident unfolded at approximately 2:45 p.m. and involved three females allegedly conducting a hand to hand drug transaction in a parking lot at 456 W. Glenwood Ave., police said.

After the officer notified officers, “he maintained eyesight of the first involved suspect vehicle until it was stopped by on-duty Smyrna Police,” Cpl. Donner said.

Patrol officers received a broadcast once the alleged incident was reported.

Moments later, police said, Jennifer Bell, 44, of Marydel, was stopped while driving in the area of Wheatley’s Pond Road and North Carter Road. She allegedly admitted to purchasing 10 bags of heroin in the parking lot, police claimed.

Just minutes after that, a second suspect vehicle was stopped in the area of Wheatley’s Pond Road and Coldwater Drive after it traveled past officers making the first apprehension, police said.

That stop led to the discovery of 403 bags of heroin that brought the arrest of a Jayme Turner, 22, of Smyrna, and Kyah Hall, 21, of Philadelphia. Police said 390 bags of heroin were located in the vehicle and Ms. Turner was allegedly in possession of another 13 bags.

Also located were .4 grams of MDMA and suspected drug proceeds, according to police.

Following standard procedure, both involved vehicles were impounded. Police said Ms. Bell’s vehicle belonged to a family member, and the other was also registered to one of the driver’s family members.

The charges detailed

The suspects were taken to the Smyrna PD for processing.

Ms. Bell was charged with possession of a controlled substance and driving while suspended. She was released on a $650 unsecured bond after a video appearance before Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover.

Ms. Turner and Ms. Hall were both charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance in a Tier 4 quantity, second-degree conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Ms. Turner was charged with two counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Ms. Hall was arraigned in JP Court 7 and held by the Delaware Department of Correction on a $20,850 secured bond. Ms. Turner was also held by the DOC in lieu of $21,100 secured bond.

The large scale seizure was in contrast to the typical 1 to 25 heroin bags found with a user during an arrest, police said. Bundles of heroin are often purchased and include 10 to 13 bags, according to authorities.

On Sept. 9, two arrests were made and 196 bags of heroin and 21 illegal prescription pills confiscated during an alleged incident at the Smyrna Mart just a quick drive from Glenwood Plaza. Police said they received information regarding an arranged illegal narcotics deal that was to take place.

Cpl. Donner said, “Smyrna PD deals with heroin related issues on a daily basis.

“Ever since the Federal government instituted new rules regarding prescription opiates 5-7 years ago the trend of heroin abuse has risen.

“A lot of our property crime (burglary theft etc.) can be directly linked to the heroin trade.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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