just_in1A 27-year-old Little Silver man is in the Monmouth County jail following his arrest at home Tuesday for possession with the intent to sell the painkiller Oxycodone, the county prosecutor’s office announced Thursday.

A Middletown man was also arrested during the search of Jonathan R. Merklinger’s home “after he approached the residence and sought to purchase” from Merklinger, according to the announcement.

Merklinger’s arrest, by the Gang Task Force and Narcotics Task force from the prosecutor’s office, as well as the Little Silver police, was the culmination of a two-month investigation, according to the announcement.

Oycodone is described in the announcement as “an oral medication generally prescribed for the relief of moderate to severe pain. However, it has increasingly been used recreationally and has been identified as a ‘gateway’ drug for heroin, which addicts have turned to as cheaper alternative.”

A search of Merklinger’s residence turned up 40 Oxycodone pills, with a street value said to be $1,500, “a small quantity of cocaine, a small quantity of marijuana and a scale.”

During the bust, John K. Sutphin, Jr., 24, of Jean Terrace in Middletown was also arrested after he tried to buy 15 Oxycodone pills from Merklinger, the prosecutor’s announcement said.

Merklinger was charged with drug possession and distribution counts, and municipal court Judge Richard Thompson set bail at $10,000. Merklinger was still in the lockup at the time of the announcement late Thursday afternoon.

Sutphin was released on a summons after being charged with conspiracy to possess the drug.

Here’s the full announcement: 031711-merklinger-arrest