Mahwah NJ Man Facing Charges in Heroin-Related Death Seeks to Exclude Statements from Trial
A man charged in the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office’s heroin enforcement initiative tried to convince the judge to exclude statements that he made to investigators shortly after being arrested.
21-year-old Uldis Mende is charged with giving a fatal dose of heroin to Harris Apfelbaum, the the 20-year-old victim.
Mr. Mende is a Latvian national who lives in Mahwah, New Jersey. Earlier this year, he was arrested as part of a multi-jurisdictional operation aimed at reducing the number of heroin overdose deaths in North Jersey. Mr. Mende was later indicted by a Bergen County grand jury.
During the trial, Mr. Mende’s defense lawyer argued that Mr. Mende’s statements to investigators on the night of his arrest ought to be excluded from evidence because the questioning continued after Mr. Mende told investigators that he wanted a lawyer. The public defender asserted that the investigators had an obligation to stop questioning Mr. Mende.
In court, the detective countered that Mr. Mende was the one who continued the conversation, repeatedly re-engaging the investigators every time they tried to halt the conversation.
In October 2012, the victim, Mr. Apfelbaum, used between two (2) bags and ten (10) decks of heroin. Three (3) weeks after Mr. Apfelbaum was found dead in Park Ridge NJ, a Mahwah patrol officer found Mr. Mende carrying 70 decks of heroin. Detectives from the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office followed up and eventually determinate that Mr. Mende had given Mr. Apfelbaum the fatal dose of heroin.
Mr. Mende was charged with heroin distribution, heroin possession, and manslaughter.
For more information, see the NJ.com article entitled “Mahwah Man Charged in Fatal Overdose Wants Statements to Detective Excluded.“