Press Release


For Immediate Release:
March 28, 2024

Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella announced the arrest of MELVIN GUZMAN, 29, of Garfield, NJ for strict liability in a drug-induced death and a drug distribution-related charge. The arrest is the result of an investigation conducted by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office under the direction of Acting Chief Matthew Finck and the Garfield Police Department under the direction of Chief Richard Uram.

On Saturday, September 17, 2023, at approximately 6:41 p.m., the Garfield Police Department received a 911 call reporting the drug overdose of two victims. Responding officers located the two victims in the area of 249 Lincoln Place in Garfield, and life saving measures were immediately initiated, including the administration of Naloxone. The victims were subsequently transported to an area hospital for treatment, where one of the transported victims, identified as 30-year-old Ivan Santiago of Garfield, NJ, was pronounced deceased.

A six-month investigation by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and the Garfield Police Department into the death of Ivan Santiago and the related drug activity revealed that MELVIN GUZMAN distributed a fatal dose of narcotics to the victim, causing his death.

As a result of the investigation, on Thursday, March 28, 2024 MELVIN GUZMAN was arrested in Garfield, NJ. GUZMAN was charged with first-degree strict liability in a drug-induced death, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-9; and third-degree distribution of fentanyl, N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5(b)5. MELVIN GUZMAN was remanded to the Bergen County Jail pending a first appearance in Central Judicial Processing Court in Hackensack, NJ.

Prosecutor Musella states that the charges are merely accusations, and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and he would like to thank the Garfield Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms for their assistance in this investigation.