WOODBRIDGE – The township’s school district business administrator was arrested Wednesday after police said they found a gram of cocaine during a search of his car.
Dennis Demarino, 46, was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance and released on his own recognizance. He was later suspended from his job with pay.
Police said they witnessed a transaction on Wednesday between the business administrator and a man suspected of dealing drugs throughout Woodbridge Township.
The transaction took place in the parking lot of the Woodbridge School District Administration building, police said.
The administration building is near a school, park and public housing complex.
“The Special Investigations Unit received information that (suspect) Kevin Swayze was dealing cocaine throughout Woodbridge Township,” police Lt. Brian Murphy said in a news release.
After placing Swayze, 54, of Howell, under surveillance, police discovered “Swayze was dealing cocaine to the Business Administrator of Woodbridge school district Dennis Demarino,” Murphy said in the release.
After witnessing the alleged transaction, police stopped Demarino and searched his vehicle, Murphy said.
Police found about a gram of cocaine with a street value of $50, according to Murphy.
Swayze was arrested on Thursday and charged with distribution of CDS, possession of CDS and distribution of CDS in a school zone, park zone and public housing complex zone, police said.
Swayze was held on $25,000 bail.
Murphy said Swayze has worked as an electrician and does not have ties to the school.
“The board is highly concerned over the seriousness of the allegations,” District Superintendent Robert Zega said in a statement. “At this time, I have suspended Mr. Demarino pending further action of the board.”
Demarino will continue to receive his $145,000-a-year salary. With few exceptions, New Jersey law prohibits suspending board of education officer or employee without pay.
Anthony G. Attrino may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
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