(5th LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT) — Legislation introduced by Assemblyman Angel Fuentes aims to give law enforcement more tools to effectively combat drug crime.

“It is too easy for individuals being charged with a crime, particularly crimes related to drugs and drug violence, to return to the same places and people that facilitate this behavior,” said Fuentes (D-Camden/Gloucester). “If we want to stop a drug dealer from harming our community, we cannot just work to take away their product. We also want to take away the street corner, the school yard and the store front where they push their poison on our children and our vulnerable.”

The bill (A-2416) would give a law enforcement officer or prosecuting attorney, under certain circumstances, the ability to apply for a restraining order against person who is being charged with a criminal offense and who is released without being detained. This would fill a gap in the current system and would allow the authorities to prevent an individual from returning to the scene where the offense occurred, as well as a buffer around that area.

“This is a needed change to Drug Offender Restraining Order Act, and I am happy to introduce this legislation,” Fuentes said. “A drug dealer needs access to users, and by denying them their usual haunts and removing them from their comfort zone, we force them into the light and send a message to these criminals that we won’t tolerate the evil they bring to our neighborhoods. We won’t stand by idly.”

Fuentes’ bill has met positive response from community leaders. Notably, the Camden Churches Organized for People has invited the Assemblyman to participate in a public meeting and discussion on Tuesday at St. Josephs Pro-Cathedral in Camden alongside Mayor Dana Redd, Police Chief John Scott Thomson and Camden City Council President Francisco Moran.

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